A Queensland woman has sent Aussies a cheeky reminder of why we should double check our letterboxes before sticking our hands in.
“My husband found it last night at around 7pm,” Esma said before revealing to Yahoo News Australia exactly what was hiding inside her red-brick letterbox in Alexandra Hills. “We were pretty surprised and shocked as that hasn't happened before living here.”
In an image of her mailbox, a small snake can be seen curled up inside. It's believed to be a common tree snake, and it had made itself right at home.
“My husband removed it with a stick and it went off into the bushes,” the mum of two explained. But a few hours later, the reptile was back. “My daughter, 5, was checking the mailbox again and telling me, very calmly, that the snake is still there. I didn’t believe her but she was right. We removed it again and hopefully that’s it.”
While Esma joked they might have a new “pet snake” on their hands, she said the experience was “concerning” because it’s usually her three-year-old son who checks the letterbox.
Sharing the photo to Facebook, Esma said: “You know you are living in Australia when your husband casually messaged you: 'FYI, there’s a snake in the lower letterbox, just be careful opening it'."
“Non-venomous and harmless,” someone wrote on the Facebook post, while another suggested that the woman should “ask him to keep the bills away”.
While other users were quick to share their own slithery experiences. “[I] came home from work late one night and stuck my hand in my letterbox without looking and grabbed hold of one of these guys,” one person said. “Not gonna lie, [there] was a bit of screaming. Another added that they’d found a baby carpet python in their letterbox.
While we shouldn’t “live our lives in fear”, Stuart McKenzie from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers explained that we “certainly should be cautious”. “I wouldn’t say that letterboxes are one of the most common locations snakes are found but it certainly does happen,” he told Yahoo News Australia, “because it’s a spot where snakes have got shelter and often frogs and rodents will hide in those areas too, and the snake will go in looking for a feed.” Which explains why they’re often found in outdoor kitchens.
“We've actually caught a few snakes in barbecues or under barbecue covers, where the barbecue hasn't been used for two or three months and now it's just getting unpacked and there's a sleepy python in there,” Stuart said. “So anytime you're unpacking something that hasn't been used for a while, you should always just be careful whether it's snakes, spiders, little rodents or whatever could be hiding in there.”.
Warmer winter sets off early breeding season
It’s no surprise that Aussies are spotting more snakes around their homes right now, according to Stuart. He explained the warmer and drier winter weather has brought forward the breeding season.
“At the moment we're getting lots of snakes on the move, just passing through yards but also a lot of pythons and tree snakes up in roofs,” he said. “Like we're doing several roof inspections a day at the moment. Our numbers from last month were huge compared to the previous August just because last August it was wet and cold, whereas this August was dry and warm. So if that's anything to go off, I think it's going to be a bumper, busy season.”
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