Farmer discovered it’s a snake eat snake world at Bethanga

After years on the farm it takes a bit for nature to impress John Northey but on Thursday he witnessed a sight that stopped him in his tracks – a brown snake munching on a black snake. 

John Northey said he doesn’t think he’ll ever seen anything like it again and was inspired to snap some photos of the encounter to ensure his mates didn’t think he was telling tall tales. 

“I was walking along on foot with my two dogs when we came across him,” the farmer from north-east Victoria said.

“He was halfway through it by the look of it. But I couldn’t tell you how long the other half was.”

Snakes are common on his property outside Bethanga, mostly getting along with his dogs, sheep and cattle, Mr Northey said.

While snakes might be a familiar sight, he said he never thought he’d see them consuming each other. 

“I’ve heard of it before,” he said.

“My father used to say if you have a black snake in your hay shed it’d eat a brown snake – but this was the other way round.

“I just thought it was something different, something you don’t see everyday.”

Mr Northey said he was careful to keep his dogs at bay, but the snake had no interest in anything but his meal. 

Six minutes after coming across the scene, the snake finished his meal and slithered off.

Mr Northey said coming into snake season it’s important people were aware of their presence.

“Don’t worry about them and they won’t worry about you, I don’t worry as long as I see them before they see me,” he said.

“We’ve got 600 sheep up the hill and hundreds of cows and we don’t lose anything to snakes, it’s rare.

“Some people stress but I believe if you leave them alone they won’t hurt, just don’t try to tackle them.” 

Senior Scientist from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Nick Clemann said snakes were out of winter hibernation and people should exercise caution. 

“It is rare for these snakes to bite people, however they are all dangerously venomous,” he said.

“Be aware that snakes may be around, and be informed on how to react to them.”

DEWLP recommends:

  • If you see a snake - keep calm and try to move yourself, anyone with you and your pets away from the snake
  • Never touch or attempt to capture or hurt snakes – instead call DELWP  on 136 186 for further advice, or call a licensed snake catcher if the snake cannot remain where it has been found
  • Have a spring clean - clean up around the house and cut lawns regularly – snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, or building materials
  • Undertake first aid training, ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten, call 000 immediately
  • Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, kill or harm them. Bites can occur when people try to kill snakes.