Dire 'electric shock’ warning for Aussies as deadly snake found in tight spot

With temperatures plummeting, residents are being warned to watch out.

The red-bellied black snake coiled around the water pump electrical box.
The red-bellied black snake was pictured stuck in the water pump electrical box on the Sunshine Coast. Source: Facebook

Authorities has issued a deadly warning to Aussies after a highly venomous snake was discovered trapped inside an electrical box. It comes after a snake catcher shared a photo of a red-bellied black snake stuck in the precarious spot, where it may have been trapped for up to 12 hours.

The snake catcher said he had found the deadly snake tangled up in the water pump box on a property in Ninderry on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

“With cooler temperatures approaching, snakes and other reptiles are looking for somewhere warm to reside,” a spokesperson for the Electrical Safety Office told Yahoo News Australia.

“One place they may find is within the electrical switchboard of your home.”

If this is the case, people are warned not to touch anything for fear of injuring themselves.

“The snake may have damaged some of the electrical components in the switchboard that could place you at risk of electric shock,” explained the spokesperson.

Reptile rescuer Daniel Busstra, otherwise known as Snake Catcher Dan, told Yahoo News Australia that he believed the snake "probably went into the water pump box looking for food".

"Which would make sense as to why it was thinner when it went in and why it was thicker and couldn’t get back out again,” he explained. “There were probably frogs or rats or something living in there.

Daniel Busstra holding a snake in a property (left) and outside (right).
Local snake catcher Daniel Busstra said it's not uncommon for snakes to become trapped in small spaces. Source: Facebook

“So the snake has gone in, eaten what was in there and then it was too chunky to get back out again. You can see in the photo there’s a lot of damage to its scales. That’s where the snake panicked and got stuck and then freaked out because it couldn't get back out because of its fat belly and because the scales are pointed backwards.”

Fortunately for the snake and Busstra, it was an old box so it wasn’t in use and the snake catcher was able to pry the door off and cut out a hole in the metal to pull the “very scared and defensive” snake back through.

With a lot of damaged scales, Busstra rushed the snake to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital which later confirmed that the red-bellied black snake is on the mend.

Busstra said it's not uncommon for snakes and other reptiles to get stuck in these types of boxes or bird netting, and that he gets called out to a rescue about once a month.

“They try weasel their head into something and they don’t realise that their body is too wide to get in it and because their scales are pointed a certain way, they can't pull their head back out again,” he explained, urging residents to always call for help.

“Definitely don’t leave an animal to struggle. It doesn't matter what the creature is, it deserves to either be put out of its misery or taken to someone who can mend it back to good health and give it the right treatment it needs.

“For snakes, call a snake catcher, and don't get too close to it because a snake that’s trapped is going to be very scared and very defensive.”

The red-bellied black snake on the ground.
The red-bellied black snake is highly venomous. Source: Australian Museum

If you do find a snake in your electrical switchboard, it’s important not to panic and follow these simple steps.

“Secure the area and keep children, pets and other family members away,” the spokesperson for the Electrical Safety Office said. “Contact your preferred licensed electrical contractor and advise them of the presence of the snake and ask them to come and isolate the power.”

Residents should then call a licensed snake catcher and keep their eyes on the reptile — from a safe distance — until the handler arrives, as the snake “could easily move to hard-to-find places”.

“Once the snake has been removed, ask your preferred licensed electrical contractor to check the switchboard for any damage and safely turn the power back on,” the spokesperson added.

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