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Geoff Coombe
Geoff Coombe
Wildlife &
Training Consultant
P.O. Box 781
SA 5351

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Ritas Outback Guide
Advice to a mining company health consultant from Ass. Professor Julian White:

"The issue of increasing versus decreasing risk depends upon the interpretation of "snake handler training". My guess is that they are actually suggesting training by Geoff Coombe, who runs courses Australia-wide and overseas for personnel at risk of snake encounters. This training teaches how to live in a snake-rich environment safely, how to avoid being bitten, how to safely remove snakes from a threatening location and how to deal with snakebite should it occur. This training is used by most of Australia's National Parks services, Customs, Councils, some mining companies etc, where staff are at risk of snake encounters. Geoff was recently in Pakistan teaching BHP staff there how to avoid snakebite, following a series of fatal bites amongst mining ex-ploration crews. Geoff's courses certainly display snake handling, but most do not have an emphasis on snake handling specifically, merely using it as part of a wider educational process.

As for bites in snake handlers, in SA at least, the advent of a revised safety culture, training, initiated by Geoff, and revised regulations have seen bites in snake handlers drop to just a trickle. In SA at least, we have shown that the risk from handling venomous snakes can be kept low. If, as I suspect, the courses requested are those run by Geoff Coombe, then I think their implementation should see a lowering of risk, not an increased risk, as you thought might occur."

Associate Professor Julian White,
Consultant Clinical Toxinologist,
Head of Toxinology, Women's & Children's Hospital.

  Living with Wildlife
dot Geoff Coombe  
Geoff in action at a training course

Geoff Coombe, the principal of Living with Wildlife, has been actively involved with reptiles since the mid-1960s. He has had practical experience with venomous snakes since 1971 in both field environments and captive situations.

Since 1993, Geoff has presented hundreds of talks, courses, workshops and seminars and has trained several thousand people in how to handle venomous snakes, delivering training programs all over Australia as well as overseas (see Locations). Government wildlife agencies in most Australian states and territories have called on Geoff to train their personnel, as have New Zealand government authorities.

Geoff is the author of Snakes, Humans and Pets, subtitled "Understanding the behaviour of snakes and human reactions to them". His most recent book, published in October 2011, is Snakes of South Australia. He is currently working on a series of eBooks entitled Handy Holiday Guides to Wildlife Hazards in Australia. All Geoff's books are available for purchase through his Wildlife on the Web site.

Geoff in action

Geoff in action
Some of his other qualifications include:
  • He is a founding committee member of South Australian Herpetology Group, established in 1971.
  • In 1986 he founded Adelaide Snake Catchers - the first non-profit community reptile removal & advisory service in Australia.
  • In 1988 he was one of the prime movers in initiating the venomous snake policies adopted by the South Australian Department for Environment & Heritage (National Parks & Wildlife)
  • At the Second World Congress of Herpetology (1993/4) he chaired the Wildlife Educators' Narama: the First Australian Expo of Reptiles & Amphibians.
  • He contributed to a range of Clinical Toxinology Short Courses for Australian & International delegates in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2008.
  • He is a financial member of the South Australian Herpetology Group (State), the Australian Society of Herpetologists (National), the International Society on Toxinology and the Society for the Study of Amphibians & Reptiles (International).
Geoff continues to hold a permit to keep venomous snakes (all Australian species) and to catch them when required.


Geoff Coombe's Wildlife on the Web and Living with Wildlife web sites are not affiliated with or associated with any other business, company or organisation using similar names. Any text or photographs on this website which also appear on any other website are used there without Geoff Coombe's permission and are in breach of his copyright.

© Copyright 2011, Geoff Coombe's Living with Wildlife