WIRES hotline received a call from a driver on his way from Woodburn to Lismore recently. He had stopped to assist when he saw an approaching vehicle pull over very suddenly.
Driving the other vehicle was a young Norco employee in a company car who had noticed unexpected movement on the passenger window ledge. A red-bellied black snake was inside the car, less than a metre from her. Other Norco employees who had been following in another car were soon on the scene.
By the time WIRES arrived, the Norco employees had opened all five doors, removed the contents and made a thorough search. Rescuers investigated further but the snake was not found.
No one had seen the snake leave. The driver was adamant that the snake was still inside and she was not willing to resume driving the vehicle. It was towed to a Holden dealership in Lismore.
The following morning, WIRES volunteers arrived at the dealership to search again because mechanics were understandably reluctant to chance an encounter with a venomous snake. Again, a thorough search yielded no result. Apart from completely dismantling the vehicle, there was little else to be done to ensure the snake was no longer inside. The car was transferred to the Norco depot.
Nine days after the initial sighting, the WIRES hotline received another call from Norco. Employees had spotted the snake sunning itself on the passenger seat. Rescuers were soon on the scene but were unable to find the snake.
So many days after the snake had been first seen, it was overdue for a drink and a feed. WIRES suggested leaving doors open and putting a band of fine sand around the vehicle to show if the snake had made an exit.
The following day, there was a call from Norco advising that the snake was on the dashboard. Fortunately a WIRES snake handler was less than a kilometre away at the time and was at their depot within a few minutes.
The elusive snake was still there on the dashboard. The snake was larger than expected, estimated at more than 1.5 metres!
When approached, the snake flattened itself, which is typical of these shy creatures when they feel threatened. The rescuer used special tongs to grab and then bag the snake. Very soon afterward it was released on the banks of the Wilson River.
Norco made a special donation to WIRES for their efforts.