Survey #1: Snakes on the Road

In a comment on the earlier post “Not To Be Trifled With”, reader Jo wrote “It makes me sad when people think it is their duty to run over snakes in the outback.”

I know that for some drivers, it’s pretty much a standard procedure that if you can run over a snake without putting yourself at risk, you do so, and use the brakes to reinforce the effect on the snake.

But that’s certainly not everyone’s approach. Some, like Jo, would say that it’s quite inappropriate cruelty to kill a snake on sight when it’s posing no threat to you.

What’s your attitude on this? We’re talking about when you’re travelling in a rural or Outback area. There’s a snake on the road and you can choose to run over it without compromising issues of safety. What do you do? Please tell us in a comment.



About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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10 Responses to Survey #1: Snakes on the Road

  1. Ray Atkin says:

    Why pick on the snake, he isn’t doing any harm, he’s doing his snake thing, getting out there to
    earn a living to pay the mortgage, food on the table for the wife and billy lids, save up some coin
    for the next holiday away and then some burk comes along and runs over him. Fair go please!

    It should be compulsory for everyone to read “Snake” in the Tele every day.

  2. I encounter the odd snake on my place and encourage them to go back to the bush. I certainly wouldn’t want them too close. But when they are out in the middle of nowhere and people deliberately run over them it seems a strange way of enjoying the outback. I thought people went there to SEE the wildlife not kill it! I have been reading the early explorers diaries and I must say it was always shoot first, ask questions later. If they couldn’t eat it they took it as a specimen for the museum! Now people seem to kill snakes just for the sake of it.

  3. Jiltaroo says:

    I wouldn’t want to run over any animal on the road. It’s not their fault they are snakes. They don’t go out of their way to hurt us and they are beautiful creatures.

  4. georgeroytersaustralia says:

    I have a great respect for snakes. When I am driving in the bush or outback and see a snake on the road I always slow down or stop to let the snake cross the road.
    They are quite beautiful to watch.

    When filming I am always in the sand dunes or scrubby locations. I learnt many years ago to make noise, walk slow and keep an eye on the ground.

    Always keep your tent zipped up at all times when camping in the bush or the outback.
    I had a snake trying to get into my tent last trip. I guest it thought I was not a threat as it hung around my camp site for several hours. I had to keep herding it out of the way.

    • dazzlerplus says:

      George, I guess your message to the snake that you didn’t want it inside the tent was delivered in a gentle fashion, and the snake was prepared to wait around in case you changed your mind. For some people, the concept of “herding” a snake would be quite foreign. Their first instinct would be to kill it.

      Your attitude of having “a great respect for snakes” is commendable. It implies both (1) acknowledging that they can be dangerous, and hence taking precautions, and (2) admiring their beauty and elegance.

  5. roobark says:

    I wouldn’t harm a snake unless a human were in real danger from it and there were no alternative.

  6. rosbradley says:

    I drove over a snake nearly 40 years ago when I was in Papua New Guinea and I still think about the snake! I was driving home in the dark and after turning a corner there it was – stretched right across the whole road. It was probably a python but I am not sure. I was too surprised to wait for it to wriggle across so I drove right across it but all these years later I still regret doing so.

  7. dazzlerplus says:

    With six out of six responses in favour of sparing the snake (as Ray Atkin says, he’s only “doing his snake thing”), it’s reassuring to conclude that readers of this blog are in general a compassionate lot.

    I think it’s fair to say that tourists in the Outback are unlikely to run into any trouble with snakes so long as they adopt a sensible approach and take reasonable precautions..

  8. Ray Atkin says:

    I’ve had a few close calls with snakes in my career. I don’t fear them but I certainly respect their speed and fatal potential and keep alert for them, particularly when I’m on my own in the bush. Other things can be dangerous too so epirb, first aid kit, radios, satphone and Mauser are always on board the car when I’m out alone.

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