Snake Expert Ray Hoser with a handful of deadly snakes at a Snake Handling course clients facilityShortage of snake catchers in Werribee means local reptile handlers being paid $4000 dollars a day for not catching snakes!

10 February 2019

In a bizarre twist, a desperate shortage of snake handlers in Melbourne’s western suburbs has led to local reptile handlers at times being paid in excess of $4K a day by local councils to not to catch snakes.
Following retirement of several snake handlers in Melbourne’s west, Wyndham, Hobson’s Bay and other councils have been forced to pay reptile handlers, including one or more without proper training to catch and handle snakes as part of the council run snake removal programs. Due to the shortage of handlers, those employed by the councils are charging back ratepayers at times more than $4K a day for their snake removal services.
However due to the backlog of calls received on warm days, it is not unusual for the reptile handler to attend the property several hours after the snake was first seen, meaning it had long since fled and is not able to be located. When the snake does come out of hiding, the family pet dog is often bitten and killed.
One of the reptile handlers contracted by Wyndham council is morbidly obese, and has never been properly trained, the result being a lot of snakes evading him and one or more trips to hospital for bites that could easily have been avoided with proper snake handler training.
To counter the ongoing spike in snakebites in Melbourne’s west and to alleviate the severe shortage of snake catchers in Melbourne’s south-west, Australia’s foremost reptile expert Raymond Hoser, has scheduled extra snake handling courses to train potential snake handlers from the Western suburbs.
The benefits of the job as a snake catcher are quite significant. The pay per call out is usually $200 and when the snake is ready and waiting to be caught, this can mean $200 for a minute’s work, and at times $1K in a single hour.
The risk of snakebite for properly trained handlers is effectively nil. By way of example Hoser, who has been handling deadly snakes for over 50 years has never needed a drop of antivenom in his life and he catches and handles deadly snakes daily.
At one time, Raymond Hoser was the only licensed 24/7 snake catcher in all of Melbourne, but in the last 20 years, demand for snake catchers has risen exponentially. This is due to the fact that it is now illegal to kill snakes and because people have been educated to call a professional handler, rather than take the risk of handling a snake when not fully trained and certified.
In the past, Wyndham and other councils have referred snake call out work to a panel of snake catchers, but due to the acute shortage of available snake catchers, this often means all call outs are referred to a single handler. This means that the delay in arrival of snake catcher can be many hours, by which time the snake has long fled and evaded capture. There have been several cases of dogs being bitten and killed by snakes due to the delay in arrival of a licensed snake catcher.
Facebook pages being run by snake handlers working the Werribee area often post details of the thousands of dollars they charge back to ratepayers on a daily basis for not catching snakes.
There have also been allegations made of fake snake calls being made to council, resulting in chargebacks to ratepayers, for snakes that literally never existed. as well as several reports of venomous snakes being deliberately released near homes with young children and pet dogs in order to pump up demand for snake catching services.
While emergency venomous snake removal is an esential services, at the present time, suffering ratepayers in Wyndham, Hobsons Bay and other nearby areas are being stung hundreds of thousands of dollars for no tangible benefit and often no snakes being caught.
The training of more snake handlers should help alleviate the suffering of ratepayers in these outer south-western suburbs.
For persons interested in doing the only professional snake handling course that issues a certificate recognized by wildlife licensing departments in all states, or wanting to learn more, they should visit

Further inquiries about this story, snake catchers and snake handling courses can be made by phoning the Snakeman Raymond Hoser on 0412-777-211.

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