Local Gympie snake catcher discovers rare snake species

snake head

Jemma Boisen

THE SNAKE season has well and truly started with Gympie’s local snake catcher, Codey Rowe, 27, receiving four to five callouts every second day.

Gympie’s only snake catcher received a call last Friday morning from out on a property on Tin Can Bay Road. The call detailed a ‘liquid paper’ white, 1.5 metre snake hiding in the back yard of the property.

Mr Rowe’s initial thoughts from the call was that the snake was possibly a captive bred albino eastern brown, an extremely poisonous snake. Upon arrival, Mr Rowe treated the situation the same way he treated every call out, calm and cautious.

“Never arouse or stir any snake, it increases your chances of being bitten by 80%,” Mr Rowe said.

The jet white snake acted very calm and friendly and was comfortable being handled. Mr Rowe could not recognize the breed of snake, therefore he called surrounding snake catchers from Cooroy and Kilkeevin for their opinion but no one could identify the rare species.

After further investigation, he identified the snake as a blizzard phase corn snake, a non-venomous pest in Australia. Mr Rowe has been in the snake catching business for three years and throughout time he has never seen this breed of snake.  He assumes the snake was illegally brought over from the US and from the size of the snake it has been in captivity for 5-10 years.

“Captive bred snakes will not survive in the wild, they are used to being fed each week and it is very selfish for whoever set the snake free in the bush.

The corn snake has been sent to Biosecurity to be further investigated. Mr Rowe states that reptile experts from the Australian Museum are conducting further research into the rare snake species.

Mr Rowe covers the entire Gympie region and attends to calls as far south as Kandanga and as far north as Tiaro.

“If you find a snake in your house or property, it is best to leave the snake alone and not provoke it. It is ideal to call your local snake catcher.

“If caught killing a snake in QLD, you can face fines from up to $20,000 (find out certain amount)” Mr Rowe said.

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