THE venomous red-bellied black snake is slithering through our backyards and killing our dogs, warned Blacktown veterinarian and councillor Russell Dickens.
"I've seen dogs just die from snake bites in the past few weeks," Dr Dickens said.
"I'm seeing a whole lot more of them at my practice [Blacktown Veterinary Hospital] than I've seen in other years."
Also commonly found in western Sydney are brown and tiger snakes, which have potentially lethal venom.
In fact, in January 2007, a 16-year-old Whalan boy died after he was bitten on the hand by an eastern brown snake.
Putting his Blacktown Council hat on, Cr Dickens said the council has paid a reptile rescue and removal service $5000 "to assist in removing snakes — from premises, factories, laundries".
"He picked up 20 in one week," Cr Dickens said.
In NSW there are about 300 snake bite cases every year.
Last financial year, 14 people were admitted to Blacktown, Nepean and Westmead hospitals with snake bites, with 16 emergency cases at The Children's Hospital at Westmead in the past five years.
"The last snake bite-related injury we saw at The Children's Hospital at Westmead was in early March," Mary McCaskill, medical director of the emergency department, said.
"But now that the weather is warming up and bushfire season is upon us, the risk of a child being bitten is slightly higher."
She reminded parents to supervise children when they are outside, and if there is a snake to simply leave it alone.
"If a child is bitten, first aid should be applied immediately," Dr McCaskill said.
"This includes placing a firm bandage on the bite sight and keeping the limb as still as possible until the ambulance arrives.
"The area should not be washed as the venom on the skin may be used to identify the snake."