Baby snakes warning for Illawarra residents

Wollongong firefighters have been called to remove eight snakes from people's homes in the past week, a sign hatching season is under way.

Two of the Illawarra's most common snake species, red-bellied black and brown snakes, usually breed between February and March, and Fire and Rescue inspector Don Peskud said it was making work interesting.

"We find the snake ... put it in a bag then release it into bush nearby," he said.

"They're in any suburbs, just generally this is the time of year for them in the warmer months."

Sean Cade, a snake catcher who answers call-outs in the Illawarra, said he had helped relocate 10 snakes in the past week.

He said while both brown snake and red-bellied black snake young were leaving the nest, the two species had very different breeding methods.

"Red bellies - they call them live bearers [but] it's an embryonic sac, it looks like cling wrap," he said. "They're fully developed ... then mum pops them out and they might hang around mum for a couple of days but as soon as they shed their skin they need to get away because mum will eat them.

"The difference between that and baby browns is the brown snake will lay 10 to 20 eggs and she'll leave them like a crocodile."

Mr Cade has also encountered copperhead and tiger snakes in the Illawarra.

He said while older snakes tended to avoid homes, baby snakes were yet to learn to be cautious of humans.

"The little ones don't know ... they'll be moving around in the backyard and they fall in the pool and can't get out so they end up in the filter box."

Hot spots for snakes in the Illawarra include the northern suburbs and even areas as close to the city as North Wollongong Beach.

Mr Cade warned residents to treat baby snakes with as much respect as adult snakes.

"The venom in a 30-centimetre snake is the same as in a four to five-foot snake," he said.

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