THERE have already been many sightings of the venomous red-bellied black snake this spring.
"Snakes are all through The Hills district and their toxins are more concentrated at this time of the season," said Richard Naylor, the principal at Castle Hill Veterinary Hospital.
"This is the time of the year. Snakes are out either shedding their skins or not shedding — and they're on the warpath."
He said the red-bellied black was the most common snake seen locally each year and also common were the brown and tiger snakes which have potentially lethal venom.
Kylie Hungerford, of the Castle Hill RSL Cricket Club, said the red-bellied black liked to hide in the bushy area near field four at Fred Caterson Reserve, Castle Hill, where the club trains and plays from Tuesdays through to Saturdays.
"Pretty much all through there you see them," said Ms Hungerford, a keen bushwalker.
In NSW there are about 300 snakebite cases each year.
Last financial year, 14 people were admitted to Blacktown, Nepean and Westmead hospitals with snakebites, with only 16 emergency cases at The Children's Hospital at Westmead in the past five years.
"The last snakebite-related injury we saw at The Children's Hospital at Westmead was in early March," said Mary McCaskill, medical director of the emergency department.
"But now 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 site 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."
Dr Naylor said it was important to jot down the colour, length and location of the snake if possible. "If you see a snake take a wide berth," he said.