Bob’s tip on snakes: leave them be
WHETHER you love them or recoil at the sight of them, everyone is interested in snakes.
That's what reptile handler Bob Withy has discovered in his thirty-odd years as a snake breeder and 13 years as an award-winning live demonstrator in schools across NSW.
This week Mr Withy, who has upwards of 600 snakes at his Central Coast home, has attracted big crowds with his show Snake Tails - at Grafton Shoppingworld for the first time - to dispel myths and educate people young and old on how to live side by side with some of Australia's most feared animals.
"That's the most important message I can give is that you'll never get bitten if you leave them alone," he said.
"Snakes have got no hearing, can only see movement within one or two metres and they have no legs.
"If you can find a deaf, blind person that can chase you, that's the day I'll believe a deaf blind animal will chase you."
Mr Withy said most people got bitten by snakes because their first reaction was to kill them out of fear.
"That's when you do move near a snake, and that's how nearly everyone in Australia gets bitten," he said.
"All the people in the outback leave snakes alone and they never get bitten."
Killing red-bellied black snakes, which are featured in his show alongside tiger snakes, brown snakes and the world's most venomous, the fierce snake, is a particularly big mistake, he said.
"I consider it the most valuable snake in Australia because it's not deadly, rarely bites, and they eat browns," he said.
"We've been slaughtering the red-bellies and allowing the browns to increase in huge numbers."