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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Snakes are on the move around TNQ and they’ve been spotted in some weird places


    Snakes are ending up in some very public and personal places as they make the most of recent wet season rain in the Tropical North.

    Managers of the Night Owl supermarket at Trinity beach opened the store yesterday to find a brown tree snake sitting on the bread shelves.

    Cairns Snake Catcher Matt Hagan was called in.

    "Trinity Beach shoppers weren't seeing or feeling Tip Top when they encountered some early morning attitude from this grumpy customer," he said.

    Mr Hagan told Tropic Now while it was among his more unusual call-outs, it's not unusual for snakes to come into contact with humans at this time of the year.

    “There’s lots of food around and the temperature’s good for snake growth and so they’re feeding and foraging around houses.

    “And you’ve got a lot of snake eggs hatching at this time of the year, they hatch now because of the abundance of food.

    “It’s certainly not holiday time for me.”

    Mr Hagan said most of his work involves removing snakes from people’s houses, or reptiles who are trying to eat beloved pets.

    And, they’ve been found in some interesting places.

    “I caught one out of a woman’s handbag,” Mr Hagan said. 

    “She was pretty unimpressed with that.

    “I’ve retrieved them from children’s toy boxes.

    “They also seem to like stuffed toys, particularly if it’s a dog’s chew toy, because it will have the scent of the dog on it.”

    While some snakes are stunningly beautiful, like a blue phase common tree snake removed from a home in Gordonvale in December, others are enough to make you shed your skin.

    The tale of the 14 year-old boy who woke to a real life nightmare as a three-metre snake tried to gobble up his arm last month, is certainly in the latter category.

    According to Matt Hagan, the two hotspot Cairns suburbs for finding snakes in homes are Smithfield and Caravonica.

    “The edge of the rainforest in suburbia is generally a high level of activity.

    “The good thing is 90% aren’t dangerously venomous, the bigger scrub pythons can be daunting, though."

    One of the most common species he removes are brown tree snakes, which he said are often misidentified as eastern browns.

    “The shape of the head is the best way to determine what they are.

    “The eastern browns have a bullet-shaped head and the trees have a heart-shaped head.

    “But most people don’t want to get that close to really get a proper look so it’s best to just call in a snake catcher.”