Snake news: Queensland handler ‘shocked’ when eastern brown ‘pops out’ of venomous snake’s mouth

Mitchell Thorburn was doing what he does every day, attending a snake callout on the Gold Coast, when he saw something that stopped him in his tracks.

The handler, from Gold Coast Snake Catcher, yesterday picked up a red-bellied black snake, sighted on a property in Ormeau, when the head of a baby eastern brown snake popped out of its mouth.

Video uploaded to social media shows the forked tongue of the juvenile snake flickering.

The eastern brown was being eaten alive, tail-first.

Thorburn told he’s never seen anything like it in his career.

“I was quite surprised,” he said, adding the red-bellied snake was just under a metre long.

“It’s the first time I’ve had a snake poke its head out of another.

“It’s not at all surprising to see red-bellied snakes eat other snakes, but I’ve never picked up a venomous snake and had another snake pop out.”

Thorburn went on to debunk a popular urban myth – that eastern brown snakes and red-bellied black snakes don’t inhabit the same areas.

“Despite the occasional predation on each other, both species are happy to live side-by-side,” he said.

“They don’t compete much for food.”

Despite the confronting sight he filmed, he said the reptiles’ predation works both ways.

“Eastern brown snakes have been known to feed on red-bellied snakes too,” he said.

“But size does matter.

“An eastern brown would take on a smaller-red bellied snake and vice versa.”

The incident comes as reptile handlers gear up for one of the busiest periods of snake season, which typically runs from September to April.

Hatchlings are starting to emerge and enter homes.

“We’re getting a large numbers of callouts at that moment,” he said.

“Keep your doors closed, and if you see a snake stay well away from it.

“If it’s causing an issue please call a qualified snake catcher.”

HOOK-NOSED SEA SNAKE Enhydrina schistosa. Close up showing head detail and scales. Specimen from coast of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. stock photo

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