A scientist received a late night surprise in a Daintree laboratory, after discovering a “dead” snake in an unlikely place.
A scientist received a late night surprise in a Daintree laboratory, after discovering a “dead” snake in an unlikely place.

Snake discovered in ‘most unusual’ hiding place

A SCIENTIST received a late night surprise in a Daintree laboratory, after finding a "dead" snake inside a book was very much alive.

A Papua New Guinean researcher undertaking recent work at James Cook University's Daintree Rainforest Observatory, went to check plant specimens among the research station's herbarium folders.

Specimens are preserved in A4 clear plastic sleeves, in large books.

The station's manager, Dr Michele Schiffer, said on social media that the researcher came across an unusual page where it appeared someone had placed a preserved snake among the plant specimens.

"He thought this was most unusual, but hey, it looked amazing," she said.

"What a surprise for him, when upon closer inspection, he noticed the snake was watching him, and that in fact, the snake was alive."

Brown tree snake found inside a plastic folder, contained in a plant pressings book in the herbarium at James Cook University's Daintree Rainforest Observatory. Photo: JCU
Brown tree snake found inside a plastic folder, contained in a plant pressings book in the herbarium at James Cook University's Daintree Rainforest Observatory. Photo: JCU

The reptile, a brown tree snake, appeared to have squeezed its way into the lab through a gap under the door, and decided to settle down inside the plastic pocket among the plant specimens.

The airconditioning inside the lab cooled the snake down to a temperature where it became inactive, where Dr Schiffer said it would have otherwise been destined to become a permanent part of the collection, if it had not been discovered.

Brown tree snakes are only mildly venomous, and not considered dangerous towards humans.

The snake was removed and fed, before being released back into the wild.

The Daintree Rainforest Observatory, located at Cape Tribulation, is the only rainforest canopy crane in the southern hemisphere, one of only 12 in the world.

It provides 360 degree access to the canopy of the world's oldest rainforest, and attracts a large number of international researchers.



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