Rescue crews have been forced to fend off snakes lunging into their life rafts to seek refuge.

The Fire and Rescue NSW flood rescue specialists were attempting to reach a family of six and their three cats in pitch darkness when the snakes “jumped into the life raft”.

NSWFR Inspector Russell Turner said up to four snakes appeared as the firefighters got out of their rafts to walk the final 400 metres to the home.

“They had to remove some spiders, a couple of snakes and lots of insects before they could put the four children and two parents back on board and paddle them back to safety,” he said, adding that the firefighters were at least prepared.

“They’re used to the hazards in the dark and in the water, and in times of flood all the animals try and get to safety and … they saw the raft as a safe place.”