When a Queensland woman caught a glimpse of what she thought could be a snake slithering into her bedroom wardrobe, she knew she wouldn't be going in there herself.
Arriving at the Merringandan West home, 20km north of Toowoomba, on Tuesday, Darling Downs Snake Catchers discovered a juvenile spotted black they guessed to be "about a month old". But despite its tiny 30-centimetre length, the spotted black — also known as a blue-bellied black snake — is "dangerously venomous," the snake catcher revealed on Facebook, and one tiny bite from the harmless-looking reptile is extremely "toxic" to pets and humans.
According to the snake catchers, spotted blacks are in the same family as its known relative, the red-bellied black, but the blue-bellied version is "slightly more toxic" — so it was a good thing the woman spotted the little guy before she went riffling through her wardrobe.
Spotted black snakes, like many others, often find their way inside the home generally stay on the floor, according to snake catcher Gunter Glasser.
"Snakes are opportunistic in finding their prey so they go anywhere to look for it," he told Yahoo News Australia. "In summer they go into homes to find somewhere cooler. In winter, for somewhere warmer.
"[There's a] small gap under the outside door where it would have come through," he explained.
Tiny snake latches onto finger in defence
Darling Downs Snake Catchers shared a video on Facebook after plucking the tiny reptile from the wardrobe where it was hiding with Mr Glasser, wearing a black protective glove, holding the snake in his hand.
"It’s not gonna let go," he says in the clip as the snake bites down on his thumb — a defining characteristic of the blue-bellied black snake. When it takes a bite, the spotted black "often hangs on and chews, ensuring a good dose of venom is injected," according to the Australian Museum.
Mr Glasser said this is not the snake being aggressive, but rather "it's just defending itself". When it does eventually let go, the footage reveals two small markings left behind on the glove.
What to do if bitten by a snake
"If you get bitten by this little fellow and you are envenomated, that small amount of venom will need urgent medical attention," he said. "Get a pressure bandage on the affected limb immediately."
"Call triple-0 for an ambulance, then don't move the limb. Sit and wait. You'll get antivenom at the hospital if you develop symptoms," he said.
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