Snake season is officially underway in Queensland and they’re back — in a big way.
- The snake catcher says the 1.2m reptile almost didn’t fit in the hook
- Residents are being warned to look out for snakes as breeding season is underway
- There have been 856 snake bite incidents across the state in the last year
Snake catchers on the Sunshine Coast have recovered two huge specimens this week, including “one of the thickest red-bellied black snakes” they have ever seen.
Stuart McKenzie turned up to a Maleny home on Tuesday to find the big-bellied red belly tucked into the corner of the lounge room.
The female resident had nearly stepped on the 1.2 meter long reptile, which was so thick it barely fitted on the catcher’s hook.
“It was a bit of a shock to be honest … people say they’re big but you can usually halve that because people overestimate or over exaggerate,” Mr McKenzie said.
“We actually joked it was probably the only time a snake might even have fat rolls… it was huge.”
Despite being venomous, red-bellied black snakes are rarely aggressive.
But Mr McKenzie said they would defend themselves, and it was lucky the Maleny woman did not stand on it.
“The snake’s not going to go out of its way to try and hurt her or bite her, but if she had put her foot on it, then that could have been a different story,” the snake catcher said.
‘So many snakes’
Mr McKenzie was also called to a Buderim home this morning where he retrieved a 2.8 meter carpet python, which tipped the scales to 9 kilograms.
“It was a whooping big snake… Buderim is probably the home for the carpet pythons on the Sunny Coast, it’s one of our busiest suburbs,” Mr McKenzie said.
News of the snake catcher’s finds on social media has led to a flurry of residents sharing their latest snake sightings.
Kristen Gray is scared of snakes, yet appreciates their role in the ecosystem.
That was little comfort when she came eye to eye with her first wild reptile.
“When I saw the green tree snake I was on my pony and it popped out, head up, mouth open — scared the living daylights out of me,” she said.
Ms Gray noticed the reptiles have been more active around Palmwoods, Chevallum and Eudlo recently.
“There are so many snakes out right now, I’ve seen three in the past week — two carpet pythons and one young green tree snake.”
At Federal, near Gympie Summa Court said snakes were “definitely on the move”.
“I’ve seen seven snakes in the past two weeks,” she said.
“This little night tiger was trying to find a way into my house last night after its day-time sleep.”
Closer to the coast at Mount Coolum, Claire Hards spotted “the biggest one I’ve ever seen” while walking from the beach last week.
“At first I didn’t even see the snake because of its beautiful camouflage patterns and my dog went to jump out at something and I pulled her back and looked down and then realized what it was.
“It was amazing when it moved, the darker scales reflected this beautiful iridescent blue in the sun.”
She estimated the snake to be about three-meters long.
“I’ve come across brown snakes out in the wild before and they rear right up and … they’re quite scary but this snake seemed very calm and just wanted to go on its way.”
Breeding and biting season
The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) said since September last year there have been 856 snake bite incidents across the state, including 97 on the Sunshine Coast.
The most recent was at Flaxton in the Sunshine Coast hinterland overnight when a woman in her 30s was taken to hospital after being bitten on her ankle.
Dianne Rigby, a senior operations supervisor with QAS, said the type of snake had not been identified.
With Queensland home to some of the deadliest species in the world, she said people need to be on the lookout coming into warmer weather when more snake bites occur.
“I’ve heard of them coming from trees, being in boxes when people are moving boxes around, any area of clutter…. we often get them from residential places rather than from bush areas.
“Keep your properties clean and the grass short and if you are walking in snake-type areas, so long grass or anywhere where a snake might normally tend to reside.
“Then we recommend people should be wearing appropriate sturdy clothes and shoes … have a first-aid kit and have a compression bandage available.”
What to do if bitten by a snake?
Ms Rigby said if bitten, it was not necessary to catch the snake for identification purposes.
“We ask people not to wash where the snake has bitten and the hospital will do a snake venom detection kit and that will normally assist in determining what sort of snake it is,” Ms Rigby said.
She said the best course of action is to phone Triple-0, apply a compression bandage, keep the person calm and observe symptoms.