"Once they're caught in there, if someone doesn't help them out that's it — they die," snake catcher Rolly Burrell, who rescued the red-bellied black snake in Adelaide, told Yahoo News Australia.
The impact of mindlessly discarding rubbish is catastrophic for wildlife, and despite it being "very common" for animals to get stuck or tangled up with litter, wildlife rescuers believe the countless rescues they perform could just be the tip of the iceberg.
"Who would know out there in vast Australia ... people flick away their beer cans and no one sees it," Rolly said, condemning the behaviour.
Litter poses non-discriminative threat to wildlife
All wildlife is at risk of experiencing the negative impact that littering poses, with wildlife rescuers reporting birds, reptiles and mammals have all died after getting tangled.
“I reckon about 10 per cent of my rescues are litter related," wildlife rescuer Katina told Yahoo.
“It’s definitely an issue and animals are curious so they interact with leaf litter and dig up soil and unearth things,” she added, sharing a recent rescue of a cockatoo and magpie both ended in fatalities after pieces of string and wire caught in the birds' claws.
Continued effort to raise awareness on danger of netting
Netting used to protect crops from insects and pests are also a threat to wildlife with two different rescues of red-bellied black snakes alone being reported recently in Sydney, one from domestic use and the other from discarded netting on a construction site.
The RSPCA have received a steady flow of calls regarding wildlife being caught in netting, and are urging people to be vigilant with their use, while the Victorian government has introduced legislation in the hope it will mitigate the threat.
“Most of the calls we get about snakes or lizards are from them being caught in netting that has been discarded,” Katrina said. “Just think about what you do with litter, it’s something we could all do that is very simple and could make a big difference.”
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