|Four-metre monster caught in shed
January 31, 2009 11:05am
TOWNSVILLE snake catchers have caught the largest scrub python they have ever seen.
The 4.1m monstrosity was captured in a backyard shed in Mundingburra yesterday, where it was believed to have been resting after gorging itself on possums.
The non-venomous snake's head was the size of a man's hand, and its body as wide as a leg.
It required at least four people to lift it into a bag to be taken away and released.
O'Dowd St resident Averil Chadwick, who first spotted the 15.1kg reptile in her backyard on Tuesday, said she always had possums around the shed, however they had since disappeared.
"I have possums up in the shed but when I looked up there I thought it was the wrong shape for a possum," Mrs Chadwick said.
"It looked like a snake, and sure enough it was.
"There are no possums around now. I didn't see any bulges in his stomach, but reckon he's given them a bit of a fright."
Snake catcher Brian West, who was called to remove the snake, said he needed a second pair of hands to help capture the animal.
Mr West, who has caught more than 1000 snakes in Townsville over a nine-year period, said it was easily the largest scrub python he had ever caught.
"I've caught two of these – one down at the port that was 3.3m and another that was about 2.2m over at Annandale," he said.
"They're not uncommon, but this is, by far, the biggest I've ever caught."
Scrub pythons, also known as amethystine pythons, have been caught near Tully measuring 5.4m long.
The snakes, which are usually found in rainforest areas throughout tropical North Queensland, feed mostly on birds, fruit bats, rats, possums and other small animals.
The python will be released in Bluewater.
While the python was harmless, Mr West said it could have posed a danger, in terms of its size, for small children.
"It would create a bit of a problem for a small child - they would have a real problem with something that big," he said.
North Queensland Herpetological Society spokeswoman Tanya Ross said the immense size of the snake showed the river habitat in Mundingburra was thriving.
"It's really good to see animals of that size surviving in the environment," Ms Ross said.
She said Mrs Chadwick had done the right thing by contacting snake catchers to remove it from her garden.
Mrs Chadwick had only contacted them after she knew the snake would not move away from her backyard on its own accord.
"If people need to have a snake removed, they can either contact wildlife carers, or the EPA.
"They will put you on to a snake catcher – we're all volunteers, so you only get who's available – and someone will come out with experience and remove it.
"Don't try and remove it yourself, because something like that can do a lot of damage, and you may not know whether it is venomous or not," Ms Ross said.