Determined brown snake caught on third attempt at school
THE eastern brown snake that had taken a liking to the gardens near the prep rooms at North Arm State School wasn't leaving without a fight.
Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7's Lockie Gilding said in his six years removing snakes from unwanted places, this one had been the most determined to avoid capture.
Mr Gilding was called to the Yandina school on February 22 after a teacher had spotted the snake basking in the sun next to a garden just before the morning tea break.
It turned out to be the first of three attempts Mr Gilding would make to recover the snake over two days.
"When I approached the snake on the first call-out, he made a runner for the thick bushes and completely disappeared," he said.
Mr Gilding was called out once more later the same day, as the snake had reappeared shortly before the children were due to enjoy their afternoon break.
"By the time I got there, he had disappeared down another hole, but a teacher was able to pinpoint which one it was," he said.
"After waiting to see if he would come back out, we decided to dig the burrow out, but it ended up being an absolute monster."
The complicated underground system, which was dug out by cane toads, had more than half a dozen separate off-shoots and went through established eucalyptus tree roots and underneath a retaining wall.
With the assistance of the school's groundskeeper, Mr Gilding spent three-and-a-half hours digging.
"We called it a day as school wound up and the next day a familiar call came that he was now basking right in front of their classroom," Mr Gilding said.
"We knew we weren't going to be able to dig him out, so I sat and waited while a little brown nose poked out of a hole and he would come out a couple of centimetres every 15 minutes.
"He would just watch us, waiting for someone to move so it could duck back down the hole but after more than 45 minutes I was finally able to dive on him and bag him up."
As the 400 students had effectively been in lock-down over three of their lunchbreaks, Mr Gilding took them out onto the school oval to conduct a demonstration on how to live safely with snakes.
"It was only fair that they got a bit of a show after all of that," he said.
North Arm State School principal Kelly Edgar said she was pleased Mr Gilding had captured the "super smart" snake.
The school had also tasked Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 in the first week of school to remove another eastern brown snake.
Ms Edgar said the burrows had already been filled in to prevent another snake from taking up residence.