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Eerie warning: Why you should always 'double check' inside your barbecue

This guest was definitely not invited to the barbie.

As the weather heats up and outdoor dining becomes a regular habit for millions of Aussies, a Queensland snake catcher has issued a warning after a homeowner made a chilling discovery inside his barbecue.

"They essentially went to put the gas bottle back inside the barbecue and when they opened the cupboard the snake was just lying there," Stuart McKenzie from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 told Yahoo News Australia.

After getting the call for help, he asked the residents to shut the barbecue door immediately. "I guess to try to isolate it as best they could," he explained. "It could have gotten out if it wanted to, but it just stayed in there until we got there about 20 minutes later."

Snake catcher pulling carpet python out of barbecue
Queensland snake catcher Stuart McKenzie says soome homeowners 'got an almighty fright' after coming across a 'scaly intruder' in their barbecue. Photo: Facebook/Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7

In the clip, the almost two-metre long snake — which Mr McKenzie referred to as "small" — can be seen snuggled up on a shelf. "Out ya come," he says as he pulls the three to four-year-old reptile from its hiding place. "[Let's] get you out of the barbecue and back into the bush."

"The snake was a pretty easy catch," Mr McKenzie said. "It was still quite cold, so it hadn't been in the sun and didn't really get aggressive or anything like that. It was pretty chilled out."

The video ends with Mr McKenzie releasing the carpet python onto a tree, with a close up of the reptile gliding through his hands.

Double check barbecues and outdoor settings

As the weather slowly heats up and residents turn to cooking outside, Mr McKenzie said he's been picking up a number of snakes from outdoor cookers. "The barbecue is essentially a perfect spot for snakes to hang out because if there's leftover food scraps often the rats come in, so snakes will come in after the rodents," he said. "It's also a sheltered area which is still nice and warm and a bit cosy, so it's a perfect spot."

He's now urging residents to double check their gardens for any unwanted guests, and to keep their yards nice and maintained. "It is starting to get warmer and snakes are on the move, so if you're opening up a barbecue or an outdoor setting or something that has been covered up for three months, maybe just have an extra close look and double check yourself," he said.

For those who do spot a snake, Mr McKenzie had this safety message: "A lot of people still try to catch snakes themselves, or try to hurt snakes," he said, adding that it's illegal to interfere, relocate or kill native wildlife in Australia with a permit. "If you do see a snake, don't do anything about it yourself," he urged. "Just call a snake catcher if you want it relocated."

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