STEVE McEwan knows spring has arrived because his phone rings night and day, and most callers utter that same word: "snake".
With a fearless respect for Australia's most venomous, the Coffs Coast snake handler maintains there's nothing to worry about as long as walkers tread with a heavy footfall and give any snakes sighted a wide birth.
And just to prove it, he introduced his 2m eastern brown snake, John, to the camera lens of Advocate photographer Bruce Thomas.
"John is just a pet, nothing to worry about at all, in fact anyone who knows snakes knows people usually only get bitten after they mess with snakes or try to move them on," Steve said.
After several reports of active reptiles this week, we caught up with Steve in his backyard snake enclosure, comprising taipans, death adders, red bellied blacks, tigers and browns.
He had just returned from a preschool visit where he introduced the little ones to his harmless non-venomous snakes to dispel the myths early.
To report a venomous snake sighting, call WIRES on 1300 WIRES (094 737) or Steve McEwan's Reptile World on 6651 5244.