It was a case of snakes alive for Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers recently as they found themselves facing a very unusual situation.
The reptile rescuers were called to a Nambour property on Saturday to relocate a python mother and 24 hatching eggs from an area that was soon to become a construction site.
Snake catcher Heather McMurray told Sunshine Coast News it was “quite a new” experience for the team as the welfare of not just one but 25 pythons was in their hands.
“The owners of the property are just about to start building there and they knew the snake was around and had been looking out for her for a while,” Ms McMurray said.
“The time had come when she needed to be moved on and when we lifted up some metal, there she was sitting on her eggs and they were hatching.
“That was quite new for us, we often come across eggs, but not actually hatching.”
The team carefully removed the mother and her eggs to a safe place until all the babies had hatched, before releasing them all into nearby bushland.
“While snakes aren’t really maternal, we still need to take into account that they would have feelings to some degree, so took her away and waited for all the eggs to hatch,” Ms McMurray said.
“We went back the following day and released mum and all the babies, there were 24 babies, into bush nearby.
“We take a lot of time in finding the perfect area for them – a nice bushy spot that has a lot of shelter and food source, everything they need.”
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It comes as warm temperatures and humid conditions make for a busy time for these fearless workers, with an increase in sightings in and around local homes and businesses.
Originally from New Zealand, Ms McMurray has been a licensed snake catcher for eight years, but only began working full time two years ago. And her favourite snake – a red belly black.
“I’m a Kiwi, so I certainly didn’t grow up with snakes but I have an absolute love of Australian wildlife.
“I absolutely love it; I live for it and it’s my reason to wake up each day.
“Every single job is different you have no idea what you are going to face each time.”
Stuart McKenzie from Sunshine Coast Snakes Catchers 24/7 said that a great deal of thought and preparation went into ensuring the right outcome for everyone involved in snake catching.
“As full time 24/7 snake catchers we are always taking into account the welfare of the snakes plus our clients’ needs,” he said.
“We are always trying to educate our followers and clients but we also understand that people have a genuine fear of snakes and simply would prefer them out of their yard.
“Not to mention other factors like pets and kids present, chicken coops and bird aviaries, located within the house, construction sites and danger to the snake, staff and customer interactions, (like) snakes at businesses.
“This is far from a simple and one-dimensional job, so many factors come into each snake call and it is our job to come up with the best solution for the snake and the home or business owner. Only full time 24/7 snake catchers will understand this!
“So, if you see something that you may not agree with, for example a harmless snake being relocated, please have a think about all the other factors that may have been at play in that certain scenario.”