Calls to snake catchers soar during lockdown

It's the kind of rude awakening none of us in lockdown want to have.

An elderly Brisbane woman got the fright of her life when she went to use the bathroom late at night only to find a huge snake in her toilet.

Snake catcher Bryce Lockett was called out to the woman's house in Wynnum West where he found her in "a state of shock".

"She got up to go to the toilet, opened the bowl and there was a visitor," said the 25-year-old, who works for Snake Catchers Ipswich, Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast.

That "visitor" was a 1.52m carpet python.

 

The late night visit follows an incident last year when a Brisbane woman was bitten by a snake while sitting on a toilet.

Helen Richards received the non-venomous strike in the dark at a relative's house. She received minor puncture wounds from the 1.5m (5ft) carpet python.

Ms Richards told News Corp at the time she had felt a "sharp tap".

"I jumped up with my pants down and turned around to see what looked like a longneck turtle receding back into the bowl."

 

Carpet pythons are a common species along the east coast of Australia. They are not venomous but tetanus shots are recommended for bites.

Mr Lockett said calls to his snake catching company have soared since the beginning of social restrictions and he now averages around six calls a day from stressed-out customers who are dealing with snakes while in lockdown.

"More and more people are at home so they've got more time to notice snakes in their backyard or around the house," he said.

"For us, we have our social distancing policy and always wear gloves when we're in people's houses, that's something we have adapted well to."

In the case of the snake in the toilet, Mr Lockett said the reptile managed to slither into the woman's toilet through a broken pipe.

"He was probably looking for food," he said.

"I flushed the toilet a few times and he came out. I was going to take a video but he started moving so I had to act fast."

Mr Lockett then pulled the 1.52m carpet python out of the toilet and released it into nearby bushland.

The snake catcher said he was drawn to his profession for the educational aspect, describing snakes as "fascinating animals".

TOP TIPS FOR DETERRING SNAKES

**Keep grass short

**Remove water sources such as ponds

**Plant native trees that attract snake-eating birds

**Seal potential entrances

Originally published as Calls to snake catchers soar during lockdown