One-in-a-hundred deadly snake drops into Cooloola pool
IT WAS no surprise a snake was cooling itself in a Cooloola Cove pool filter during last week's heatwave, except that it is one of the region's rarest snakes.
The increasingly scarce coastal taipan is the third deadliest snake in Australia and not easy to come across in south east Queensland.
Gympie snake catcher Julie Smith of Accounting for Fauna fields up to 10 snake call outs a day in the Gympie and Noosa regions, but only comes across the coastal taipan about three to four times a year in Gympie.
Last week's relocation made her the envy of fellow Sunshine Coast snake catcher Richie Gilbert who said the last confirmed sighting of a coastal taipan on the Sunshine Coast was six years ago at Tinbeerwah.
He told his social media following on the Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 Facebook page:
"Every time we get a call to relocate a "brown" snake around that area I'm always hopeful it'll be a taipan but so far they continue to evade me," he wrote.
"Besides a 9ft beast I came across in far North Queensland a few years back this species is certainly my white whale."
Just a juvenile at 60cm long, last week's visitor was scooped up with a long pool net by the pool-owner and placed in an empty and secured wheelie bin before Mrs Smith arrived.
The efficient swimmers, who are recognisable by their "white nose" are also known for their speed and intelligence.
"I highly recommend you stay clear of that species - they're incredibly quick," Mrs Smith said.
"They are the only snake I feel seems to learn what I'm doing."
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A venomous bite from a coastal taipan, which can grow to three metres, could make the victim unconscious within 15 minutes, the experienced snake catcher said, and without medical help could be fatal.
Mrs Smith said hot weather had made snake activity in the region a bit hit and miss.
"It's been very hit and miss - most snakes are appearing after dark so that's reducing the number of incidents they run into humans."
She said as the weather begins to cool, there could initially be more interactions between snakes and humans.
"Gympie the snakes are pretty active all through the year."
Julie Smith's tips for dealing with snakes:
"Use good sense around all snakes - don't approach a snake closer than three meters.
"Use the zoom on your phone to take a photo and send it to a snake catcher for identification.
"The best option for the snake and the environment is to avoid relocation. Discuss with a snake catcher if it is a snake that is safe to go back in your garden."