With so many of us getting out for our daily exercise during lockdown, Wellington Shire Council is reminding residents that local wildlife is also becoming more active in the lead-up to spring.
People are urged to be aware that we share our environment with wildlife such as magpies and snakes. Wildlife is protected by Victorian law and managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
While Council's main role is dealing with domestic animals, the wellbeing of our wildlife and the safety of people using our public spaces is always paramount. Council is reminding people that they should not harass or feed any wildlife, as this can alter their behaviour and increase the chances of a negative interaction with humans.
With the spring breeding season almost here, several native species of birds, including magpies, will sometimes protect their nesting young by swooping people who enter their territory. This behaviour can result in injury, so people are urged to avoid areas where birds are swooping.
DELWP has developed a Swooping Bird Map at www.wildlife.vic.gov.au where people can report incidents and help others stay out of these areas. The website includes tips on how to avoid interactions and protect yourself from swooping birds.
Snakes also become more active during spring as they come out of hibernation. During the warmer weather snakes will begin to move around, and encounters are possible in parks, walking tracks and natural spaces.
While an encounter with a snake might be frightening, the best thing to do is move away and give it some space. Never touch or attempt to move a snake.
Anyone concerned about the location of a snake in a public area should call the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186.