A taipan is captured in a Kelso home after it hid for two days. Snake catcher Joe Mackereth caught the snake in a laundry. Photo Joe Mackereth
A taipan is captured in a Kelso home after it hid for two days. Snake catcher Joe Mackereth caught the snake in a laundry. Photo Joe Mackereth

Laundry destroyed to find deadly snake

A LAUNDRY had to be virtually demolished in order to capture a taipan in a Townsville home.

Licenced snake catcher Joe Mackereth was called out to a home in Kelso after a man stepped on the deadly snake on last Friday night.

When Mr Mackereth arrived he caught a fleeting glimpse of the snake as it scurried into a cavity

"I put a few holes in the wall to no avail - with the homeowner's permission," he said.

"The next day I put talcum powder over the floor to follow the movements of the snake.

"I left because I could have knocked down the entire house and not found it. We had to wait for it to come out.

"I also put cardboard boxes in the room to see if there was movement in the room. And if the boxes moved they were to call me.

"On Saturday night they called me and I couldn't grab it quickly enough."

The taipan is treated by Trish Prendergast Photo: Joe Mackereth
The taipan is treated by Trish Prendergast Photo: Joe Mackereth

The volunteer snake catcher worked it out of the hole, but had to demolish a wall to extricate the snake.

"We put numerous holes in the wall, ripped out the basin - I pretty much gutted the whole room.

"That was all with consent, they didn't want a taipan in their house."

Mr Mackereth said taipans were highly venomous but also elusive.

"If you go searching for taipans you're not going to find them - especially in Townsville.

"Very few get caught in Townsville.

"Compared to other snakes they're incredibly rare.

 

The taipan is treated by Trish Prendergast Photo: Joe Mackereth
The taipan is treated by Trish Prendergast Photo: Joe Mackereth

 

"They're very shy and timid. They don't like people and do their best to stay away."

Mr Mackereth said the snake had been taken to a local vet to treat its injuries after it suffered scratches.

Once the snake recovers it will be released into the wild, as is required by law.

Mr Mackereth has been catching snakes in Townsville since February and said he loved it.

He advised anyone who saw a snake to contact volunteers on the Townsville Snake Catchers Facebook page.

"It's illegal for anyone other than qualified snake handlers to interfere with snakes," he said.

"Taipans are something that should definitely be left to professionals."

"In fact all snakes should be."

The pregnant snake was treated by vet nurse Trish Prendergast who said: "Well, today I did something I've never done before!"

"Stitched up a Coastal Taipan."

Ms Prendergast said the 1.6m snake had been injured while in a wall cavity.

"Sadly removal caused some damage that was easily fixed with a few sutures," she said.

It was taken to the Hammett Street Vet Clinic, where veterinarian Max Kadel said it received about 15 sutures over three skin tears.

"All the muscle tissue was fine, that's why we stitched her up under local anaesthetic," he said.

The deadly snake, also known as an eastern taipan, was found to be gravid, or pregnant, but it was not known how many eggs she was carrying without performing an x-ray or ultrasound.

Photos showed the front half of the coastal taipan secured in a tube, which the vet nurse said was a technique learned when dealing with venomous species.



Cabarita approved as next national surfing reserve

Cabarita approved as next national surfing reserve

A Tweed Coast break will become a national surfing reserve

Bookings bonanza for renovated oceanfront park

Bookings bonanza for renovated oceanfront park

The park is expected to open on March 22.

Residents warned to lock up after spate of break-ins

Residents warned to lock up after spate of break-ins

A car, laptop and a bottle of whiskey are among items stolen

Local Partners