Aussies issued surprise snake warning ahead of spring: 'Very strange'

Snake catchers are puzzled as to why the animals have already emerged from their winter slumber.

Snake catchers have warned dangerous Australian reptiles are emerging from winter early after one was caught in a sticky situation in Queensland on Sunday.

Stu and Dan from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers were surprised to find a "highly venomous" eastern small-eyed snake in a company storeroom at Buderim. The situation was especially unusual given the creature was stuck in a tape dispenser.

"They’re a nocturnal species, so we don’t really see them often," Stu McKenzie said in the video posted to Facebook. "Certainly, something you don't want chewing on your finger."

A photo of an Eastern small-eyed snake was spotted in Buderim, Queensland stuck in a tape dispenser. Another photo of three baby red belly black snakes found in Adelaide near the River Torrens.
An eastern small-eyed snake was spotted in Buderim, Queensland (left) stuck in a tape dispenser, while three babies (right) and one adult red belly black snakes were found in Adelaide. Source: Facebook

While they were able to get most of the tape off, the part on the head was in too much of a compromising position for the snake, prompting the catchers to call Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for assistance.

"This is never a good situation and can be quite difficult to manage," they said. Luckily, the creature was released from the hospital the following day, with the catchers issuing a warning that "snakes are on the move" and to keep your local snake catcher's number handy.

Experts warn snakes are coming out of brumation early

In Australia, the climate is not cold enough for snakes to hibernate, but they do go into a similar dormant state called brumation, which can last from one to eight months depending on the size, health and age of the reptile, according to the Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers' website.

The period is triggered by snakes not retaining enough heat and usually ends in early September, for them to slither out and be most active between then and April.

In South Australia, a catcher also noticed the unusually early activity.

"They should be asleep all winter, so it's very strange," Cassie Della-Flora from Adelaide Snake Catchers told 7News, having rescued one adult red belly and three babies near the River Torrens.

On their Facebook page, Ms Della-Flora noted catchers don't usually see baby snakes until summer and encouraged people to "keep dogs on leads" and "stay alert when walking".

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