It’s official! Although according to the Chinese Zodiac 2018 is the ‘Year of the Dog’, there have already been so many reports of slithery reptiles in the media that we’re renaming it ‘Year of the Snake’.
It all started early in the summer, when snakes began turning up in the most unexpected places. Like the juvenile carpet python that fell out of a child’s water bottle in Ashgrove, Brisbane. Or the Brown Tree Snake found in a toilet bowl in a suburban home on the Gold Coast. Snake catcher Tony Harrison attempted to dislodge the reptile from under the rim of the toilet by flushing it a couple of times, but his efforts were not exactly ‘flushed with success’. Eventually, he managed to pull the snake free.
Mr Harrison said that Red-bellied Black Snakes and carpet pythons are sometimes found in toilets as they search for Green Tree Frogs, a common prey item. “I caught one that took half a day, and we had to smash up the bowl and everything because someone had tried to flush it down the toilet!”
But of all the snake tales of the summer, this one may just take the cake. Darwin’s Peter Davis loves his fishing, and the start of a recent boating trip held great promise. “Everything was cruisy. Weather was great; fishing was good.”
Then he hooked a sea snake and was looking around for something to cut the line. Speaking to the ABC’s aptly named Tales from the Tinny, he remembered, “While I had my back turned he rolled up the line. I felt him hit me on the hand.”
But in time-honoured Aussie tradition, the fish were biting, so it was back to business!
“We got something like five barra over 90cm and a ‘metrey’, so yeah it was a great tip,” said Mr Davis.
The next day his hand began to throb ominously, and two days later it got the better of him and he landed up in hospital, where he was told he may lose a finger.
“They reckon the teeth on them can be just as dangerous as the venom, just from the infection, which is what I got. I didn’t get no venom.”
Fortunately, after two days on a drip, Mr Davis was on the mend, having avoided amputation.
Approximately 31 species of sea snakes have been recorded from the tropical waters surrounding Australia. They are very closely related to Australia’s terrestrial elapids, and many are described as dangerously venomous, however human envenomations are rare, due to sea snakes’ fully aquatic lifestyle, and the fact that they are rarely hostile underwater. Experts recommend that if one is caught while fishing, the best option is to cut the line as soon as possible.
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