Gladstone snake catchers Kris Foster and Mike Boen with a two month old coastal taipan. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Gladstone snake catchers Kris Foster and Mike Boen with a two month old coastal taipan. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

Gladstone snake catchers shocked at Rocky death

THE tragic loss of Rockhampton snake catcher Wayne Cameron served as a reminder to Gladstone catchers how dangerous their job really is.

Gladstone snake catchers Mike Boen and Kris Foster have both faced coastal taipans before in the region.

Mr Boen has had one experience.

While in Mr Foster's first 11 years as a snake catcher in Gladstone, he found 650 eastern browns, compared to just 14 coastal taipans.

Read more: 10 common snakes and how to identify them

Mr Foster has had a call to this year to Lowmead where a coastal taipan was hit by a car.

He cared for the snake, and three months ago the mother gave birth to eight young.

Gladstone snake catchers Kris Foster and Mike Boen with a two month old coastal taipan. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Gladstone snake catchers Kris Foster and Mike Boen with a two month old coastal taipan. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

Still in his care, the snakes in his care have fangs two and a half millimetres long and are already deadly.

"I have a lot of respect for these animals because I understand the damage they can do."

"While they are common, they are also quite secretive.

"It is true that if you stomp in bushland, most snakes, including coastal taipans, will feel the vibration in the ground and move away, thinking that you could be a predator," Mr Foster said.

With now 26 years of snake catching experience, Mr Foster said he understood the job came with its dangers.

"Mr Cameron did all the right things regarding first aid from what has been mentioned in the news. It's upsetting that he lost his life to an animal he loved."

Read more:

>> WATCH: Why the Coastal Taipan is such a deadly snake

>> Residents hospitalised after Taipan, Eastern Brown bites

"It's part of the job and we understand the dangers involved.

"You just have to be aware and on the ball all the time," he said.

Mr Boen, a snake catcher in Gladstone of more than 18 years, said the most common venomous snake he finds in Gladstone is the eastern brown.

"Taipans are scary," Mr Boen said.

"They are notoriously aggressive and they always use their venom when they bite, unlike the eastern brown, which rarely uses its venom."

Mr Boen said it was paramount that residents realised the dangers that snakes can pose.

He recommended always turning a light on when entering a room or a yard, and having a first aid kit in the house and car.

"A pressure bandage can save a life," he said.

For more information about snake safety phone Mr Foster on 0439 666 102 or Mr Boen on 0438 793 865.