Red-bellied black snake forces Sydney Covid test center to close

A snake hunter was called to a Covid test center in Sydney after workers reported seeing several snakes.

How very Australian … a venomous red-bellied black snake forced a Covid test site in Sydney to close.

Sean Cade, of Australian Snake Catchers, was called to the St Mary’s site in western Sydney on Monday to find a little man who was causing a lot of trouble.

“He must have thought it was a RAT test,” joked Mr. Cade.

He said the site was closed for most of the morning with workers reporting seeing two or three snakes on Monday and another last Friday.

However, Mr. Cade said that because the snake he caught was young and lively, they may have seen the same one multiple times.

We will be waiting to see if he gets another call to the test site this week.

Even though the snake was small, it didn’t mean that the capture was easy or less dangerous.

“The pointed end is closer to your fingers,” said Mr. Cade, speaking of the difficulty in handling baby snakes. “The baby has exactly the same poison as the parents.

“It’s a little bit harder because you have to be kinder. I can’t catch a handful of snake, but I can with a four foot.

“I have to catch them with my index finger and thumb. My intention is not to harm the snake in any way. So I have to be nice because I don’t want to break his spine or ribs or do something unpleasant while I try to save him. “

Mr. Cade said that black red-bellied snakes, especially children, were “everywhere” at the time.

The species reproduces in spring, with a gestation period of about 14 weeks. So they give birth to live young.

“They typically have 12 to 20,” said Mr. Cade.

He added that there were also a lot of young eastern brown snakes out and about. They breed from spring to early summer and lay eggs, which can hatch faster in warmer weather.

There were several warnings at the end of last year, including from NSW Health, about it increase in the number of venomous snakes and spiders.

St John Ambulance warned that with continued rainy weather, snakes and spiders were being forced to leave their natural habitat in search of three areas, and thus sightings inside the house were expected to increase.

Daniel Rumsey, head of reptiles and spiders at the Australian Reptile Park, said snakes would take advantage of the good times with plenty of food around.

“We’ve had a long drought, so some of these conditions these animals wouldn’t have experienced for years,” he said.

The increase in snakes won’t just be limited to this year. Mr. Rumsey said we would notice more baby snakes in the next couple of years.

“It is so ingrained in their biology that all conditions are good, there is rain, there is food, we begin to reproduce.”

Originally published as “They are everywhere”: Snake forces Sydney’s Covid test site to close