Up to '20 snakes' lurking in children's playground
A POPULAR playground on Sydney's northern beaches children's playground is having an influx of snakes.
It has become so bad that parents are concerned it is only a matter of time before a child gets bitten by a snake at Warriewood Valley Rocket Park.
Warriewood mum Stacey Mitchell said she was reluctant to take her two young boys to the park.
"It's more of a fear now," she said. "You don't mind seeing one in their natural habitat but when you start seeing more and more ... you start to get worried."
In the past two months, Mrs Mitchell said, she was aware of up to 20 snakes lurking in and around the playground.
She said a popular northern beaches Facebook group had new sightings posted every two or three days.
Diamond pythons, eastern brown snakes and red-bellied black snakes were among the species.
Mrs Mitchell urged Northern Beaches Council to take precautions so risk was minimised for children and pets.
"There are so many young children in the (Warriewood) valley now," she said.
"What will it take? A young child to be hospitalised before the council says, 'We'd better do something'."
Mrs Mitchell has suggested the council put up warning signs around the park, which included a phone number to call if people saw a snake or were bitten. She also recommended the council should look at ways to rehome the snakes.
Another mother - who lives near the park and said her dog had been killed by a snake - backed calls for more signage. She also wanted to see overgrown grass surrounding the park cleared.
Council general manager of environment and infrastructure Ben Taylor said staff had been on site at Rocket Park and were reviewing the maintenance of areas around the park to discourage potential snake movement.
"While snakes are a natural part of our environment, we urge residents to exercise caution and stay safe outdoors this summer," he said.
Taronga Zoo reptile keeper Josh Hatton said location (the park is next to wetlands), warmer weather and the recent breeding season for snakes would have created the influx.
If you see a snake phone the council, 1300 434 434; WIRES, 1300 094 737; or Sydney Wildlife, 9413 4300