GOTCHA: George Ellis, snake handler, warning Byron Bay residence and holiday makers of the ever present danger of snakes near the Byron Bay pool.
GOTCHA: George Ellis, snake handler, warning Byron Bay residence and holiday makers of the ever present danger of snakes near the Byron Bay pool. Jay Cronan

Snakes alive, 8360 in the bag for George

SNAKES that stretch head to tail from Jonson Street at Byron Bay to Greys Lane at Tyagarah would be an incredible sight.

That is how many of the scaly reptiles snake catcher George Ellis has captured around the Byron Shire since he began relocating snakes in 1996.

Having just updated his annual records, Mr Ellis said over the past 17 years to March 31, he had spent 5987 days on call to catch 8,360 snakes of various species, which measured a total of 11.28 km.

Mr Ellis said he began working as a snake catcher after capturing a carpet python that was sunning itself on a road in 1996, and when he asked former snake catcher Russ Maslen for advice, he found out he had retired.

"I said to him who is going to help out all the elderly people like your parents and my parents," he said.

His snake catching career began on November 8, 1996 when he was called to Mullumbimby.

"I can still remember my first call out to Mullumbimby to catch a brown snake at McAuleys Lane," he said.

Since then Mr Ellis has gone on to catch almost 3000 deadly brown snakes, many from Byron Bay's Jonson St.

"Byron Bay has got far more than double the number of brown snakes than any other town in the shire," he said.

"One of the most popular places in the Byron Shire for brown snakes is Jonson St."

Mr Ellis said all the brown snakes he had caught over the years would stretch 4.3km head to tail, with the longest being 2.4 metres.

From babies to two metre plus brown snakes, tree snakes, coastal carpet pythons and more, Mr Ellis said he hoped to continue catching snakes in the Byron Shire as long as he could afford to.

For more information, or to donate to Mr Ellis so he can continue his work visit byronsnakepatrol.com.



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