A Mooroobool couple arrived home last night to find a 5m scrub python had parked itself in their carport. They called me out and I was intrigued to find such a large snake coiled up in such an open space! When I picked the snake up I could tell it was lethargic and it quickly became apparent that the big snake was recovering from a serious injury. I had the snake examined by a vet and it was subsequently released. The scrub python may have been ran over by a car at some point. Big snakes like these often span the whole width of the road and are susceptible to car strikes. Snakes often cross or warm themselves on roads at night and can be hard to see, so be careful if you do see a small stick or a large log on the road at night as it might be a snake!
Perfect weather conditions in Cairns saw many residents load up their boats and head to the reef today, while other residents took the opportunity to tidy up their yards after last weeks rain. One Trinity Beach resident decided to deal with the ever growing pile of palm fronds in the corner of his backyard (which we all have) and uncovered an angry red-bellied black snake. This dangerously venomous snake is glossy black on the dorsal surface and red/crimson or even pink in colour on the lower sides and belly. They diet primarily on frogs, but they also prey on reptiles, small mammals and also eat other snakes- including those of their own species! The red-bellied black snake are also live bearers- meaning they don’t lay eggs, but give birth to live young. This is a timely reminder that spring often sees an increase in activity of some venomous snake species around suburban Cairns. Death adders and red-bellied black snakes are the most common species we relocate around Cairns. While tidying up the yard – it is always a good idea to wear shoes long pants and gloves – particularly if your dealing with the pile of palm fronds! Meanwhile at another pile of palm fronds – this time in Kewarra Beach, a large female scrub python was noticed sunning herself at the top of the mound. When I arrived she was no where to be seen but as I dug deeper into the pile of fronds, I found her curled around her clutch of 15 eggs. Dumping vegetation to rot in the backyard creates perfect habitat for snakes, so try not to let the pile get too big and stay for too long.
While many parts of Queensland and New South Wales deal with the aftermath of cyclone Debbie, Cairns residents have endured some very warm nights and an influx of snakes! Big scrub pythons have made the most of hot conditions with many Cairns pets under siege throughout the night. Some large brown tree snakes have also been relocated with one from Redlynch measuring 2.4m. Regardless of prevailing conditions, all pet owners in and around Cairns need to ensure that their animals are either inside at night or in a suitable snake proof outside enclosure.
When Patty from Speewah calls to say she has a big scrub python trying to get into her duck pen – she really means BIG. Measuring 5.1m in length and tipping the scales at a very respectable 27kg, this hungry scrub python could have cleared out the duck pen in one sitting. It is no wonder that ‘Hot Chocolate’ the flamboyant brown duck was in such a flap when I arrived the scene at 2:30am. The spectacular scrubby also had around 30 bush ticks attached to its head which were promptly removed by Cairns Snake Catcher and vet Dr Jack Shield. The large scrub python was then released back into the Barron Gorge National Park minus the blood sucking parasites.
The morning routine can get awfully repetivie at times, with many tasks performed without thought as the body slips into autopilot. Occasionally, ordinary tasks like getting out of bed or making a bowl of cereal or putting on your work boots are interrupted by something extraordinary….Andrew from Redlynch witnessed such an event this morning when he watched his son perform an incredible dance while trying to put on his work boots. A closer inspection of the work boot revealed that a large brown tree snake had taken up residence in the size 9 during the night. When I arrived the boot was in quarantine and the snake was extracted. For the record, it is possible to fit 2.1ms of brown tree snake into one size 9 blue steel work boot!
Another day, another dangerously venomous death adder! This 55cm specimen was relocated from a a backyard in Gordonvale. The adder was relaxing amongst leaf litter under a palm tree in the middle of the yard. The homeowners had young children that spent a lot of time playing in the yard and if it were not for the keen eyes of their grandfather, the death adder would probably have gone unnoticed… Populations of death adders are in decline and are currently listed as Near Threatened in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992). Habitat destruction, cane toad poisoning and inappropriate grazing and fire regimes are thought to be the main causes.
Earlier in the week I was called to a Trinity Park residence to mediate between a 40kg Rottweiler and a highly defensive 4.8m scrub python (19kg). Both dog and snake had been engaged in a tense Mexican standoff but were obviously able to negotiate some form of agreement as their were no discernible wounds on either animal after the dust had settled. The scrub python was in poor condition for its length whereas the Rottweiler was looking match fit! The stressed out scrubby was promptly relocated to a less intense environment and the Rottweiler was trotting around triumphantly having regained control of its yard. If your dog does detect a snake in the backyard or has one cornered in a section of the yard it is best to bring the dog inside and not approach the snake as threatened snakes will often strike out in defense. Once the threat has been removed the snake will often leave the yard immediately – if the snake hangs around call 0467 473 883 for advice.
A TRINITY Beach man received one hell of a shock after being bitten on the hand by a snake while trying to go to sleep on Friday night.Snake catcher Matt Hagan said it was “probably the fattest spotted python I’ve ever caught”. And it’s safe to say the spotted python that had curled up under a pillow also received a rude awakening, biting the man on the finger. Cairns snake catcher Matt Hagan received a call from the shaken resident about 11.30pm. “He seemed a little but stressed. He’d just gone to bed and he’d put his hand under his pillow,” Mr Hagan said. The man told Mr Hagan that something had bitten and attached itself to his hand. “Which is a fairly shocking thing to happen when you’re trying to fall asleep,” he said. The man’s wife, hearing noises, entered the room and saw a large spotted python curled up under the pillow. “It was a very large one for this species,” Mr Hagan said. The snake was about 1.2m in length and Mr Hagan said it was “probably the fattest spotted python I’ve ever caught”. By the time Mr Hagan arrived the snake had moved to the bedside drawer. Earlier on Friday night Mr Hagan was called to Kuranda after one resident, having readied his boat for fishing the next morning, noticed a stowaway when a coastal carpet python had popped its head up from one of the life jackets. On Saturday night, Mr Hagan was called to Redlynch Valley where a 5m scrub python had gained entry to a duck pen and was preparing for an evening feast.