Snake catcher calls it a day

He's come to the rescue when snakes have found their way into homes, popular parks and even to the front door of Parkes Hospital.

But with the end of this year's "snake season", our district's snake catcher Paul Newcombe is retiring after a career spanning 20 years.

With a life long interest in snakes and reptiles, Mr Newcombe initially started catching snakes as a hobby.

After a chat with local police at the time, Mr Newcombe decided to get a snake catching license and catching snakes professionally.

It's led to some very busy summers in Forbes, where he has been based, and our district.

He's been most commonly called out to Eastern Browns, but has also relocated Tiger snakes, the occasional Carpet Python and Blue Bellied Black Snakes.

And it's amazing where they've been found.

Among the places Mr Newcombe has located snakes include in the engine block of a car, a washing machine, toilets, dishwashers and in beds.

Mr Newcombe has also been called out to catch and relocate snakes found around the busy Lake Forbes, he estimates about 30 over recent years.

This season, he didn't see as many snakes, only getting call-outs to relocate 110 snakes.

In a usual season, Mr Newcombe estimates he gets called out to relocate between 180 and 190 snakes.

Mr Newcombe attributes the lower numbers of snakes in and around buildings is due to the increased amount of food and water in the region.

Most notable about this season has been the size of the snakes with the increase in mice around the region, Mr Newcombe said the local snake population are fat and healthy and will have a pretty good winter.

The new generation hatched in February, March and you can expect to see the next generation hatching around the same time next year.

A key reason Mr Newcombe cited as to why he was stepping down his snake catching job was the cost of insurance and public liability becoming too great.

When he first started catching snakes professionally 20 years ago, Mr Newcombe said the cost to operate each year with public liability insurance was only $100, but that has since risen to $1800 a year.

We're sure his services will be missed!