IT'S enough to make the blood run cold - deadly snakes feasting on Victoria's plague of mice and rats and basking in winter warmth.
Snake catcher Barry Goldsmith has caught 11 slippery intruders in a fortnight and claims conditions could not be better for the reptiles, the Herald Sun reports.
"Wherever a mouse can go a snake can follow," he said.
"They sniff out a rat or mouse nest and kill the adult with just one venomous bite and then hoover up 15 baby rats like a line of furry sausages."
Mr Goldsmith has been called to homes near Mornington to pull them from wood piles and garages.
Tiger snakes and copperheads - among the 10 deadliest in the world - have been found.
"It's a worry because people aren't traditionally on the lookout for them in the middle of winter," he said.
Mr Goldsmith said a particular thing he noticed on his most recent snake hunts was "obviously a rat nest and there was the dead adult, but no sign of any babies".
He has found, caught and later released snakes from properties at Cranbourne, Balnarring and Somerville.
"I'd probably like to get a warning out there to people that there are plenty of snakes about at the moment, despite the fact it's still winter," he said.
Meanwhile, a Ballarat school was on alert after a teenager, suspected of being bitten by a snake, fell ill in the schoolyard.
The student, 15, found small bite marks and was nauseated and felt pain in an arm after searching for a ball beneath steps at Ballarat Grammar School in Wendouree.
However, the school's headmaster, Stephen Higgs, said no traces of snake venom were found in blood tests.
"Maybe it is something else, but nobody knows what," Mr Higgs said.
"We are just pleased it's a happy outcome."
Read more on the Herald Sun.