ORANGE’S unseasonably warm 2014 is not just affecting the townspeople, as snake catcher Greg Pringle found out on Wednesday.
Mr Pringle was forced to catch and remove a five foot long eastern brown on a Clifton Grove property after receiving a call last week.
Eastern browns, the world’s second most venomous land-based snake, have typically entered into hibernation this close to winter, but Mr Pringle said the abundance of sunshine is keeping snakes active.
“This bloke was chasing a poodle actually,” he laughed.
“I’ve been hunting him for about a week, and I finally got him today. Even though it has been fairly mild it’s very unusual to catch a brown snake 10 days out from winter. Because the days are warmer, around 16 or 17 degrees they come out and sun themselves. He’s quite active considering the time of the year. Eastern browns love the heat, and with the sun we’ve had recently they’re staying active.
“I’ve actually caught snakes right into June and July. The risk of getting bitten is actually higher in those instances, because the snakes are so sluggish because of the cold.”
While the month of May has been a minuscule colder than the Bureau of meteorology (BOM) long-term average - determined using weather information as far back as 1976 - Orange has been significantly hotter in 2014 than in previous years. The trend is the same across all of south-eastern Australia, which experts are saying is the beginning of an El Nino event.
There is possibly some minor discrepancies in the data based on Orange’s stations,” BOM senior climatologist Agata Imielska said.
“The year to date in Orange has been warmer than normal, this month has been almost right on the average.”
Ms Imielska went on to say May 2014 has had dramatically less rainfall than the BOM’s long-term average.
“There has been between 20 and 40 per cent of the average rainfall for May,” she said.
Mr Pringle was en route to safely release the snake into bushland.