‘Very risky’: Huge spike in calls to remove snakes
A BURRINGBAR snake catcher has taken a drastic measure to ensure everyone stays safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sarah Mailey's phone has been ringing off the hook with desperate calls for help to remove snakes from Tweed properties.
Last weekend, Ms Mailey relocated 10 snakes from homes at Burringbar, Ocean Shores, Pottsville and Casuarina.
She said a combination of the drought, fires and then floods had left reptiles desperate for food.
Ms Mailey said at this time of the year she would normally remove two to five snakes a week but had been hitting that quota daily.
However, the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic has forced Ms Mailey to think outside the box.
"It's getting to the stage now with the virus that I'm going to talk to people on the phone on how to remove non-venomous snakes," Ms Mailey said.
"It's getting very risky. I'm going to work out what's important enough to leave the house and what's not."
Most of the snakes Ms Mailey relocated at the weekend were non-venomous, including an "unusually big" brown tree snake.
She said the 1.8 metre snake was curled up on an Esky in a Pottsville backyard.
Ms Mailey said she initially struggled to identify the snake because of its unusual colour.
"I identified it by looking at the tip of its face to its nose," she said.
"If there's two scales between its face and nose, it's venomous. If there's three scales, it's non-venomous.
"Then I smelt it. Tree snakes let off a musky odour, which it had, so that confirmed it was a tree snake."
Another call for help included a Casuarina family who had a seven foot python in their backyard.
Ms Mailey said it was in a pool pump and was not happy about being disturbed.
She said the snake "took off" through the fence while she had a hold of its tail, but had to let it go because it was getting hurt.
"It got to the stage where it was ripping its scales off, so I let it go,
"I jumped over the fence into the neighbour's yard and grabbed the snake.
"It was a seven foot coastal carpet python, and as I held it up in the air, the neighbour looked through the window and screamed, 'oh my God'."
For more information about snake removal, visit I'll Catch it Snake Relocations on Facebook.