What not to do when you find a snake in your home
Don’t judge a snake by its colours. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1925967364110991&id=169194919788253
That’s the advice from snake catchers dealing with confused Queenslanders mistaking potentially deadly snakes for more harmless species.
Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 took to Facebook this week to remind its followers to always exercise caution if they come across a snake in their home, after being sent a photo of a man holding a small snake by the tail, seeking to get it identified.
They said unbeknownst to him, he was holding a juvenile eastern brown snake.
Brown snakes are among the most deadly in the world, however fatal bites remain uncommon in Australia.
According to the National Coronial Information Service, about 300 people are bitten by snakes in Australia each year, but between 2000 and 2016, only 35 died.
Snake catcher Max Jackson, who uploaded the photograph of the man holding the snake to Facebook, said the man put himself in unnecessary danger.
“A snake that size has full capabilities to come up and bite him, with much faster reflexes than he would be able to react to,” Mr Jackson said.
I’ve found a snake in my house — what now?
Never attempt to kill any snake you find in your home, Mr Jackson said.
Snakes are protected wildlife in Queensland.
Not only are they important in helping to maintain the natural environment, it’s an offence to kill or injure them.
“They’re purely defensive animals. If you corner them and try kill or capture them, especially inside the house, they can’t kick or punch and there’s only one thing they can do and it’s bite you,” Mr Jackson said.
“They’re never going to hurt anyone if you leave it be. They’re not aggressive animals, there won’t be a snake that will chase you down the street.”
Mr Jackson recommended getting in contact with a local and licenced snake catcher and ask them to identify the snake by a picture, remembering to keep your distance.
“If it’s not venomous and you’re comfortable sweeping it out of the house with a broom, that’s fine,” he said.
“But also you’re able to find out if it is venomous and if you do want to get a professional catcher out to get it and relocate it.
“That way you’re not going to put yourself at risk.”
Surprise! Brown snakes aren’t always brown
Despite the name, there’s more to identifying an eastern brown snake than its colouring.
“Brown snakes can be jet black, they can be spotted … the things we need to look for are the body shape and the head shape, and also the colours underneath.
“There’s plenty of brown-coloured snakes that aren’t brown snakes as well.”
Mr Jackson said green tree snakes, despite the name, can come in a variety of colours.
“Although they do often have a bright yellow belly and dark green on top, they can be any colour under the sun, they can be jet black, they can be gold, bright sky blue, they can be red, grey,” he said.
Noosa snake catcher Luke Huntley said he was always wary when told a snake’s species by someone without any knowledge.
“I never assume they’ve identified something right. Nine times out of 10 times if someone tries to identify something they get it wrong,” Mr Huntley said.
Rough-scaled snakes are a dangerously venomous species with strongly neurotoxic venom.
“That snake could’ve whipped out of there and bitten him anytime,” Mr Huntley said.
In another recent case of mistaken identity, Mr Huntley was called out to a house to remove what he was told to be a green tree snake, only to find it was a venomous red-bellied black snake. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1925967364110991&id=169194919788253