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Two giant pythons drop in for a visit

Brendan O’Malley and Donna Coutts, September 2, 2020 6:45PM Westside News

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Two non-venomous carpet pythons 2.8m and 2.5m long crashed through the kitchen ceiling of a house at Lacey’s Creek, Queensland. Picture: Steven Brown via AP media_cameraTwo non-venomous carpet pythons 2.8m and 2.5m long crashed through the kitchen ceiling of a house at Lacey’s Creek, Queensland. Picture: Steven Brown via AP

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A Queensland man came home to a gaping hole in his kitchen ceiling and two giant snakes making themselves comfortable on the floor.

David Tait had the shock of his life on Monday morning when he entered his Lacey’s Creek home near Dayboro, northwest of Brisbane.

The carpet snakes, 2.8m and 2.5m long, together weighed an estimated 22kg, so heavy they smashed a hole in the kitchen ceiling.

In this photo provided by Steven Brown, a snake is coiled on the floor of a home at Laceys Creek, Australia, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. David Tait returned home and was surprised to discover that his kitchen ceiling had collapsed under the weight of two large pythons apparently fighting over a mate. (Steven Brown/Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation via AP) media_cameraOne of the snakes coiled on the floor of a home at Lacey’s Creek, Queensland. Picture: Steven Brown via AP

“They’re some of the biggest and fattest I’ve ever seen,’’ said Steven Brown, who runs a service called Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation.

“They might be two males who were having a fight over a female — it’s hard to tell between males and females unless they’re mating.

“There could still be a female up in the roof, but there was no crawl space so I couldn’t get in to see.’’

Mr Tait said he had occasionally seen snakes basking* on his metal roof on cold mornings, but had never heard movements in his roof before.

“We have a lot of bush around here so you do see snakes,’’ Mr Tait said.

“When I came back this morning there was a large slab (of ceiling fibro) on the kitchen table.

“I guessed what had happened and went looking. I found one snake in the bedroom and we found one in the lounge room.

“Steven was really professional. He gave them a pat to see if they would cause any trouble, sort of pushed their heads away and opened a black bag and they just crawled inside.

“It was over pretty quickly, but I certainly didn’t want to handle them.’’

Mr Brown said although carpet snakes could grow to 4m long, 3m was considered about the largest size in the wild.

He relocated both at a state forest about 1km away.

In this photo provided by Steven Brown, Steven handles 2 python snakes at a home in Laceys Creek, Australia, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. The home owner, David Tait, returned home and was surprised to discover that his kitchen ceiling had collapsed under the weight of two large pythons apparently fighting over a mate. (Steven Brown/Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation via AP) media_cameraProfessional snake handler Steven Brown with the two pythons from David Tait’s home. Never touch a snake, even if you think it is not venomous. Picture: Steven Brown via AP

SNAKE SAFETY
Warmer weather in spring and summer means cold-blooded reptiles such as snakes are more active.

Mr Brown said he’s noticed snakes breeding in recent weeks.

“(September 1) is the official start of snake breeding season but they’ve been breeding for about a month already,’’ he said.

“I’ve had call outs last week for eastern browns.’’

Although carpet snakes like those that visited Mr Tait’s kitchen are not venomous, you should never approach snakes and never assume that they are non-venomous as many snakes look similar.

SNAKE FIRST AID
If you are bitten by a snake:

  1. Call triple-0 (000) for an ambulance immediately. You should treat any snake bite as an emergency, regardless* of whether you think the snake was venomous or not. If you wait to see if you feel symptoms of venom poisoning, it might be too late by the time you get help.
  2. Don’t panic and don’t move, apart from moving away from the snake to safety.
  3. Leave the snake alone.
  4. Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage and splint.
  5. Don’t wash, suck, cut or tourniquet* the bite.

Source: Queensland Health

GLOSSARY

  • basking: lying in warmth and light, such as in the sun
  • regardless: despite what else is happening or you think if happening
  • tourniquet: a tight band or bandage to stop blood flow

EXTRA READING

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Mystery of the 7m python skin in the park

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Scientists discover cure for fear

QUICK QUIZ

  1. Where does David Tait live?
  2. How did these carpet pythons compare to others Mr Brown has seen?
  3. Where did the slab of ceiling land?
  4. What did Mr Brown do with the snakes from Mr Tait’s house?
  5. When should you call an ambulance if you are bitten by a snake?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Length and weight
Practice your measurement skills while getting a clearer understanding of the length and weight of the snakes David Tait found in his home.

You will need: a ruler or tape measure and some scales for this activity.

Make a chalk mark on the floor or use a piece of tape to mark your starting point. Measure 2.5m and place a marker to show the length of the smaller snake. Then measure a further 30cm and place a marker to show the 2.8m length of the second snake.

Now place items (for example books, weights, bottles of liquid, etc.) onto the scales until the weight reaches 11kg (the average weight of each of the two snakes). Once you have the correct weight, carefully see if you can lift the items to get an idea of how much one of the snakes would weigh.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Mathematics

2. Extension
Use paper and glue/tape to create a life-size cutout of one of the snakes from this story. Then write a “snake safety” message along the length of your snake.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Mathematics; Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY
I Spy Nouns
Nouns are places, names (of people and objects), and time (months or days of the week).

How many nouns can you find in the article?

Can you sort them into places, names and time?

Pick 3 nouns and add an adjective (describing word) to the nouns.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Describe a time you saw a snake in the wild.
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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