‘It’s full on’: Brown snakes in 'big numbers'
THEY are sneaky, they're slithery, and they are turning up in more and more Gold Coast backyards.
Eastern brown snakes are popping up in unprecedented numbers as the warm weather strikes, according to a prominent local snake catcher.
Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher Tony Harrison said he had been catching the reptiles since 1994, and had seen "a big difference" in the number of brown snakes being reported.
"We have been noticing it," he said.
"Seven years ago one in every 50 snakes would be an eastern brown, now it's not an exaggeration to say out of 50 we catch, 30-35 are eastern browns.
"It's full on.
"When I first started I was catching five eastern browns a year, now I'm nearly catching five a day."
Eastern brown snakes have been discovered across most parts of the Gold Coast in recent weeks, from Currumbin to Ormeau.
It is a concerning trend given the snake's highly potent venom is responsible for the most snake bite deaths in Australia.
Between 2000 and 2016, 35 people died from a snake bite in Australia, with the brown snake responsible for about 65 per cent of cases.
Mr Harrison said in part he believed the increasing number of call outs were because Gold Coasters are leaving harmless snakes alone, instead of calling a snake catcher to remove them.
"A lot of people will send us photos asking what kind of snake it is and we can tell them straight away," he said.
"In the old days we'd get called and have to wait until we got there to identify them, now people have social media and phones so we're not getting called to everything long, thin and with legs.
"If it's a carpet python or something often they'll (leave it be)."
Mr Harrison said land clearing was also "forcing" more snakes into backyards.
The experienced handler has been kept busy, particularly during the hot weekend weather when he caught two large eastern brown snakes in the northern suburbs on Sunday.
A large feisty snake was discovered under a chicken coop at Yatala and a second was found cooling down in an Ormeau pool.