An Australian reptile catcher who thought he was attending a call-out on Friday about a deadly eastern brown snake was surprised when it turned out to be one of the largest common tree snakes he had ever encountered.
Stuart McKenzie, the owner of relocation service Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, said on his Facebook page on Friday that the captured snake was “very very healthy” and he estimated it to be up to 1.4 meters, the equivalent of 4.6 feet, in length.
His team responded to an industrial site at the beachside town of Coolum, Queensland, after workers thought they were dealing with a highly-venomous brown snake, which is considered to be the second most toxic land snake in the world.
The snake was spotted slithering along the ground until it disappeared under an outdoor shelving unit just before they arrived, McKenzie said in a Facebook post.
A video uploaded to the social media account, which often publishes footage that goes viral, shows McKenzie carefully moving the shelving unit while under the assumption that he is about to deal with a snake that has the ability to kill with a bite.
Any fears instantly appeared to vanish as the reptile attempts to flee from the area and is instantly identified. “It’s a huge tree snake! That is one of the biggest tree snakes I’ve ever seen. That is incredible,” McKenzie was heard saying in the cell phone video.
He wrote in a caption after the snake was safely relocated to bushland that the team was initially cautious as they were expecting a “nice warm brown snake.”
“However once we lifted the shelf up we were delightfully surprised by a huge Common Tree Snake!! They don’t get much bigger than this. Released back to where he came from in the natural bushland to continue his healthy lifestyle,” the caption read.
The Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 website says tree snakes are not venomous to humans. “They are an inoffensive species and will generally duck for cover if they feel threatened. They don’t bite very often either. If handled roughly or feel threatened they will emit a strong odor from the cloaca,” a species profile explains.
The average size is just over 3 feet in length. The Queensland Government says the region is home to about 120 species of snake. About 65 percent are venomous.
McKenzie’s Facebook account shared images from another tree snake encounter that took place in the town of Beerwah this week. The snake disappeared inside a person’s lounge room and was found in a “sneaky spot behind some cupboard drawers.”