An Aussie woman has been hailed for holding her nerve and staying perfectly still as a snake emerged from bushes and then slithered between her feet.
Kathleen shared that she was holidaying on popular Queensland tourist hotspot K'gari, also known as Fraser Island, when the snake started to unravel on the side of the track while she, her daughter and grandson were walking.
While many might feel the urge to run, Kathleen stood still while the snake made its way between her legs, and even ‘caressed’ her toe.
“It wasn’t an option to move by that point,” she told Yahoo News Australia. At that moment, Kathleen said “so many things” were running through her mind, including alerting her family to the danger, how beautiful the snake was and even saying a few expletives in her head.
Kathleen’s quick-thinking daughter snapped an image of the moment the snake went through her legs. “I was expecting it to go across the path, but it decided to use me as a guide-rail,” she says.
With a background in bush regeneration, Kathleen says she knows it’s best practice to give snakes right of way. “It’s not my first snake encounter, but definitely my most intimate,” she says.
When the snake was a safe distance away, Kathleen says she jumped away as fast as she could. “I had so much adrenaline in my system as soon as it went into the bushes completely I sprang for the beach and screamed,” she laughs.
Hailed for her bravery
Sharing the post online, many were quick to praise her for her “nerves of steel”. “You did an awesome job standing still, I would have had a constant trickle of wee running down my legs,” commented one person.
“Well done for keeping a cool head Kathleen,” said another.
“You have nerves of steel!! I hope I could trust myself to stay still despite my head screaming ‘run’,” said a third.
But Kathleen argues she didn’t do anything special. “I’m sure anyone could do the same thing, I was nothing to the snake as long as I stayed still and didn’t give it any reason to notice me,” she says. “We have to remember we are not on the food list and we are rather insignificant to them."
What kind of snake is it?
Hoping to get an identification for the snake, Kathleen shared it to social media. Unfortunately, experts weren’t able to ascertain what species it was from the grainy images.
K'gari, or Fraser Island, is home to 19 different kinds of snake and many other native wildlife like dingoes, wallabies, spiders and birds. While many, like the green tree snake are harmless, others are highly venomous including the death adder and eastern brown snake.
What to do if a snake approaches
If you come across a snake, your first instinct may be to run, but that is actually not the best thing to do.
Snake expert Ranger Jackie, from Hands on Wildlife, previously told Yahoo the best advice she gives is to stand still, just like Kathleen.
“Snakes don’t have very good eyesight, so if you stand still the snake won’t feel threatened or scared,” she said.
“And they will be less likely to bite, and you basically disappear to the snake.”
She then suggested you slowly back away from the snake, so you don’t startle it or trip over.
Jackie also advises to treat all snakes you come across as venomous and not try and identify the snake, instead just leave them alone.
Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new weekly newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.