Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dangerous Snake Scares Beachgoers in Australia

Courier Mail: Never mind the sharks - it's the snakes you have to watch out for at the Gold Coast's Main Beach.

A deadly eastern brown snake slithering through the dunes sent a scare through school holiday crowds at the popular beach today.

The snake species, rated among the most venomous in the world, is prevalent along the Southport Spit - so much so that luxury beachfront hotel the Sheraton Mirage hotel has had to install a viper-proof fence to protect guests.

Snake-catchers are regularly called to the Spit to relocate snakes that could threaten beachgoers.

``The venom from a single eastern brown is enough kill something like seven humans,'' snake-catcher Steve Noy, of wildlife consultants Naturecall, said. ``They can also be very aggressive. You peeve them enough and they'll just explode.''

Mr Noy said that, despite trying to jump out of the relocation bin it was put in, the eastern brown caught yesterday at Main Beach was relatively placid. He said although eastern browns were not in plague proportions on the Spit, their numbers were healthy and they posed a risk to beachgoers.

``It's prime habitat for them because there's plenty of food and water,'' he said.

``There are more snakes out there than what we realise because they're magicians when it comes to hiding. But with the weather warming up and more eyes on the beach during the school holidays, you're probably going to get more sightings.''

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