Snakes alive: family's unwanted house guest

THE Crossing family got the surprise of their life when an unwanted house guest slithered into their home over the festive season.

When Dick Crossing and his friends and family returned home to Orton Park, south of Bathurst, on December 27, they found a four-foot tiger snake in the guest bedroom.

“We got home around 8.30pm and I went into the bedroom to find an old newspaper and there was a snake on the floor,” he said.

“I tried to get it with the shovel, but it escaped under the bed, so we got out and shut the bedroom door behind us.”

The Crossings contacted someone at WIRES, who got in contact with local snake catcher Joel Turnbull.

Mr Crossing said Mr Turnbull arrived at the house within an hour and caught the snake in less than 10 minutes.

“It’s better to contact someone who knows what they’re doing,” he said. 

“There were just so many places for it to hide. 

“I don’t mind having a go at them when they’re out on the lawn, but not when they come inside.”

Mr Crossing said the snake could have entered the house when a door was accidentally left open the previous night, but said he wasn’t sure how long it could have been inside.

He said while three snakes had come up onto his lawn in the past year, he had never had one come into his home.

Mr Turnbull said it was a good job the Crossings had reported the tiger snake, as it had been quite aggressive.

“What they did eventually was good – they shut the room off and put a towel at the door so it couldn’t get out. The best thing to do is stand back and watch from a safe distance,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said it was dangerous for people who had no experience handling snakes to try to catch them. 

“You might get a chance to strike it once, but if you miss it might have the chance to strike you back three times,” he said. 

“One bite and you could end up in hospital for weeks or, worse, die.”

Mr Turnbull said the majority of his recent call-outs were for snakes found inside homes and sheds. 

“It’s very hot and, while they like the heat, they can come out at night and try to get into the houses or shed for something a bit cooler,” he said.

He said it was important for people to report snakes right away and block them in a room or keep an eye on their movements.

“While sheds can be hard to block off, you need to keep an eye on it from a distance to see if the snake leaves,” he said. 

“It’s hard when you get there and the resident is out the front of the house and can’t tell you where the snake is.”

Mr Turnbull said residents dealing with snake problems could contact himself (0402 845 697) or fellow snake catcher Peter Graham (0418 637 411) for help.

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