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SSSAFE Crocodile Islands Snake Management Program

Craig Adams - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recently SSSAFE director Craig Adams went on another of his many adventures.  This time he travelled to crocodile islands archipelago of North East Arnhem Land to deliver some expert venomous snake handling training to the local rangers.
The Crocodile Islands Ranger (CIR) Program aims to protect the land and sea (which includes up to 10,000km2 of sea and 250km2 of registered sacred sites), improve socioeconomic conditions and preserve and promote the rich local customs of the crocodile island communities  Initially a volunteer program, the CIR successfully secured commonwealth funds to engage full-time rangers to provide coastal surveillance and bio-security, including weed management and ghost nets monitoring and removal, as well as community services including search & rescue, and a Junior Ranger Program.

SSSAFE was thrilled to play its small part in the promotion and conservation of local fauna.  Rangers were given instruction in the safe removal (catch and release) of venomous and non-venomous snakes common to the area. The training, familiarisation and use of the specialist catching equipment and snakebite emergency first aid were very well received.
Craig and the trainees pursued wild snakes through the evening and early morning when snakes are most active.  The snake catching scenarios were fair dinkum and in real time.  A number of representative species were captured and different catching techniques were played out.

Conservation issues were also brought into sharp relief as literally hundreds of the highly poisonous cane toads were encountered each night, including recently dead snakes that had been poisoned by eating them.  Only one goanna was caught on Milingimbi Island where once, prior to the toad invasion, they could be found in large numbers and were an important source of bush tucker.  The importance of protecting those few remaining specimens – and not hunting them for food -  was discussed at length, as these individuals may hold the gene that prevents them taking toads as prey and are key to future generations of toad avoiding goannas and their gradual recovery on the island.

If you feel your organisation could benefit from having a professional train your people in Snake Safety and Awareness, Snakebite First Aid or require Specialised Venomous Snake Handling training to remove problem snakes, safely, following the link to

The Hunt

Snake Wrangling

Safely in the bag!

Securing the prize

Craig & the trainees examine a black whip snake recently killed by eating a small toad

Even small toads can prove fatal to the unfortunate snake that attempts to eat them

A trainee assesses the merits of our compression bandages with a visual aid

Craid taking the First Aid message to the wider community

The end of a long night Snake Hunting & a very successful trip


A huge thank you and congratulations to Warrick and Simone Angus for their dedication, proffessionalism and hospitality.

They are doing an excellent job up there!


About the Author - Craig Adams

Craig is a venomous snake expert and former Operations Manager for the Australian Reptile Park. With his wife Jackie, Craig has travelled to remote areas of Australia in search of venomous snakes and spiders for inclusion in the Reptile Park's venom collection program for scientific purposes and for the collection of new data on endangered species. Craig has featured in numerous National Geographic and Discovery Channel programs on the world's most venomous creatures. He worked alongside Steve Irwin as a consultant on his film "Oceans' Deadliest" and continues to work periodically with Steve's best friend John Stainton in an advisory and "to camera" role. Together with Jackie, he has also starred in numerous other television, print media and documentary films and is acknowledged by his peers as the "go to" person in this field.

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