I’m not here for a haircut, I’m here to catch your snake…but I will need to borrow your wife’s blow dryer…. I could have passed it off as a strange dream, but late last night I found myself blow drying the stairwell of a quiet Kewarra Beach residence. The 2m brown tree snake had retreated into the hollow beam of the stairwell when I arrived and had no intentions of coming out. That is when I decided to turn up the heat. I have used this little trick once on a common tree snake that would not come out of the rim of the toilet bowl, but wasn’t sure if it would work in a more industrial setting. By gently heating the area where the snake is hiding the temperature change will often motivate the snake to leave the safety its bunker. After about 5 minutes of reasonably awkward blow drying the snake slowly exited the steel beam and entered my snake bag. Had the snake stayed in the beam I’m sure the resident would have thought I was loosing the plot!
Cairns residents uncovered more than just Easter eggs around their homes this long weekend with a variety of snake species joining in on the Easter fun. Notable catches include a Clifton Beach Death Adder that was found near the doorstep (these snakes are so well camouflaged I suspect the only ones that actually get noticed are the ones near the welcome mat!), a 3m scrub python looking for a midnight snack in a Brinsmead kitchen, and a painfully full 2m scrub python found under the house while looking for a missing cat….It is still a very active period for many species of snakes around Cairns so make sure any small pets are well secured at night to avoid a dinner date with the scrub python community and remember to shut the screens at night so you don’t end up with a slaty-grey snake under your couch. If you live in Clifton Beach be careful where you step when you get the paper in the morning!
Backyards around Cairns have experienced an invasion of miniature proportions unfolding this week. Hot, humid and generally oppressive wet season conditions are perfect for nurturing new life in the local snake community (and bad tempers in the human community!). An abundance of food combined with perfect growing conditions has seen the Cairns Snake Catchers inundated with a variety of snake hatchlings this week, including the scrub python, water python, spotted python, coastal carpet python and brown tree snakes to name a few. The water python hatchlings in my left hand were collected from a cave deep in a Gordonvale vegetable patch and the scrub python hatchlings in my right hand from a rotten void at the base of a golden cane in Yorkeys Knob. In order to avoid these ‘ankle biters’ ending up in you house make sure you close the screens on the windows and doors – particularly in the evening. If you see snake hatchlings in your garden we encourage you to admire them from a safe distance and let them be. The likely hood of them setting up permanent residence in your yard or around your house is minimal and the risk to your children or pets low. If they do end up inside however, call Cairns Snake Catcher on 0467 473 883 for assistance.
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!
Saturday morning shoppers keen to inspect some outdoor furniture on display at a Cairns showroom were joined by an unlikely customer in the form of a 2m coastal carpet python. The snake was spotted around the base of a large shade umbrella and quickly retreated to the very top after attracting a little too much attention from intrigued staff and customers. The carpet python was very well mannered and quite a good match for the outdoor decor it had selected. Carpet pythons are non venomous and are currently in the midst of breeding season. They occasionally eat small pets but pose very little risk to Saturday morning bargain hunters. (please excuse the lack of shoes – I had to climb on the furniture and out of respect to the retailer took off my shoes).
Many of us regard the toilet as a sanctuary, a place where you can lock yourself away, plan your day’s work and speculate on what the day may bring you. This is exactly how one Cairns lady started her day. She sat on her toilet, staring blindly at the towel holder on the wall just in front of her. After a few minutes, as her eyes started to focus she became aware that the shiny metal holder seemed to have acquired a brown base that she didn’t remember being there before. Her concentration slowly increased as the details of the wall fixture emerged. By the time she realised it was, in fact, a python wrapped around the metal base, she was well and truly awake and ready to get on with her day, starting with a call to Cairns Snake Catcher. Thanks to Jack Shield for providing a different perspective on our work.
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.
This is a scale pattern I don’t see very often – and for good reason. Diamond Pythons are closely related to carpet pythons (sub species) and are commonly found in coastal areas of New South Wales. I caught this stunning snake right at the top of a tree at a Trinity Beach residence. It was coiled up in a tight ball around a branch and as I gently tapped its body in an effort to locate the sharp end, the python calmly slid down my arm and around my shoulder. At this point I suspected the snake may have once been a pet. The diamond python has since been surrendered to the Wildlife Management Unit of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and will be found a new home under one of their relocation programs.
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.
SPEEWAH has emerged as a hotbed for monster snakes with two 5m scrub pythons caught at separate locations in as many days. On Friday, well-mannered snake catchers from the Australian Venom Zoo waited two hours for a python to finish its meal of a wallaby at a home in the leafy suburb near Cairns. “We were called out to move it off the property because the owner had chickens and small dogs,” said venomous-animals expert Stuart Douglass. “We moved it to a place where it could digest its meal and have a happy life. “We’re always concerned it’s going to regurgitate but this one didn’t … “It’s really important for them to get one really good meal at least once a year – big snakes need to eat a lot of food.” At 2am Saturday, snake catchers were called to another Speewah property where they found a 5.1m python with an appetite for duck. “The python was searching the perimeter of the duck enclosure trying to get in and the ducks were making a serious racket,” said Cairns Snake Catchers owner Matt Hagan. “The owner came down and there was a huge python trying to push the fence in. “It had bush ticks all around its eyes, so we brought it back to Cairns to remove them all.” The 27kg snake was released in Barron Gorge National Park on Saturday. Mr Hagan said it was unusual but not unheard of to have two big captures in the same area so close together. “The bigger ones have better chance of surviving there than in suburban Cairns where they have to cross roads all the time,” he said. “October is a very busy time for snake catchers generally. “We sometimes get these clusters of activity in certain suburbs, I’m not exactly sure why but it does happen.” Click to read full article
This particular 4.5m Scrub Python had his escape strategy well rehearsed. Anytime the scrub python saw a torch light it bolted straight to the bottom of a deep dam. After a successful capture we felt it appropriate to release the scrub python into its preferred habitat. If you look closely you can see the python swims through the water with its tongue flapping in the current. Enjoy