A western Sydney snake catcher is warning Australians to check their shoes after a heart-stopping discovery inside a woman's sneaker last week.
Remarkably a 1.2 metre-long red-bellied black snake managed to wedge itself inside the shoe after it was discovered by a homeowner in the southwest suburb of Austral. A rescuer from Reptile Relocation Sydney snapped a photo as he was removing the reptile, advising people not to store their shoes on the ground.
Dozens of Aussies responded to the post, with many appearing to be unsettled by the image. "Yikes that's scary," one person commented. "That shoe would have landed in the paddock," another wrote.
While venomous snakes can climb, licensed snake handler Cory Kerewaro believes keeping your shoes up high can help reduce the likelihood of an unwanted encounter. “The majority of the time they’ll be low to the ground, so storing them on a shoe rack will reduce the risk massively,” he said.
Strange places snakes have been discovered
When temperatures soar, snakes need somewhere to escape the heat and that can be inside a Coke can, under a barbecue, or even behind jars in a pantry. Cooler tiles used on floor patios are another favoured spot for snakes, along with inside air conditioning units and fuse boxes.
Cory has shared a number of images with Yahoo News Australia, showing some of the wild places he has found snakes hiding during the heat.
“Nowhere is off limits for them, that’s for sure,” he said. “Anywhere that’s pretty tight and dark they’ll associate with safety and it helps keep them at a regular temperature.”
Active red-bellied black snakes maintain a body temperature of 28 to 31 degrees on sunny days, according to the Australian Museum. As well as using shade, it's believed the species can control its temperature by adjusting its body posture and redirecting blood flow to different parts of the body.
Snakes like all wildlife are protected across Australia, and they usually only attack humans when threatened with aggression. The red-bellied black snake found inside the shoe was released in nearby bushland away from houses.
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