Snake handlers in demand on mine sites

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In one of the more unusual flow-on effects from the mining boom, the rapidly expanding resources industry has led to a spike in demand for snake handlers.

According to ABC News West Australian herpetologist Brian Bush says he has been run off his feet teaching miners how to handle snakes.

He said many companies were making the training mandatory because mine sites were the perfect spot for curious snakes to explore.

“The mines are actually oasis’ in the desert and they’re surrounded by these natural areas and the snakes meander around,” he said.

Eyre Iron said it was making the training available for workers once they started encountering snakes in the warmer months.

Bush said because there were few handlers available to remove snakes at regional sites the training was helpful for mining companies.

“It’s tremendously beneficial from an employer’s perspective to have people who can manage them in a safe way.”

But he said there had been mixed reactions from workers involved in the training.

“People cry because they just can’t go near a snake … but some people are really keen,” he said.

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