Avoid brown snakes at all costs

HERPETOLOGIST John Keady said there were several possibilities as to how the snake found at Rogers’ Inglewood Hill home met its demise.

One suggestion, that it had eaten a toad, was not impossible, the veteran snake catcher said, but unlikely.

“A greater probability is that it had organ damage from a car running over it and it would not necessarily show that on the skin. Or a clout with a shovel,” he said.

“It could have had a medical condition or taken a baited rat – that’s not unusual – and they can die from internal parasites.”

Without an autopsy, it was only guesswork, he said.

“There are so many variables but often they are run over and because they have no sternum a rib will drive into an organ.”

He said this often happened because snakes had “floating ribs”, allowing them to eat prey that seemed to be too big for them.

And should people be wary of this species?

“People are very frightened of them, and quite right too,” he said.

Mr Keady cautioned people to avoid picking up dead snakes because they often still had venom around their mouths, which if flicked into an open wound could kill you.

“Treat a dead snake as you would a live one,” he said.

He added there had been a huge amount of sightings of eastern browns in the Gympie region and he had been kept very busy catching them.

“A lot of people misidentify them by saying they are taipans, but taipans are a shy, retiring snake and quite rare.”

The snake found by Mr Rogers was “a big one for sure” according to Keady, who said they usually averaged about 1.2 to 1.4 metres in length.

“They are killers and should be avoided at all costs,” he said.

Facts about the eastern brown snake:

  • Highly venomous.
  • Bites from this species have caused human fatalities.
  • A nervous, ready biter it will defend itself if threatened.
  • The second most toxic land snake in the world and the most venomous in South-East Queensland.
  • Bites from this species should be treated immediately and attended to with correct first aid.
  • Very successful in areas where tree clearing and introduction of mice and rats has created ideal habitat and abundance of food.

Gympie region snake catchers: 

John Keady – mobile 0404 076 711 or 5485 1353 Yandina to Gympie 

Natalie Costello – mob 0448 208 293 or 5484 1290 Kilkivan

Gympie Times

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