A Brunswick Heads resident woke at around 12.30am last Friday to check on her newborn baby and discovered a seven-foot python about to enter the infant’s cot.
‘I was just standing over her looking at her when something moved next to me,’ said momma Sarah. ‘I looked down and saw the snake with its head moving over the top of the baby.’
Sarah says she knows she must have grabbed her daughter and run out, but all she can remember is standing in the lounge room screaming with the baby in her arms.
Sarah set about trying to remove her new house guest, but it was easier said than done.
‘Pythons are usually pretty chilled out but this one wasn’t. My partner attempted to remove it but it was hissing and striking at him,’ she said. ‘I called WIRES but they said they couldn’t come out until the morning. I telephoned a local snake catcher but there was no answer which is fair enough for 12.30am I guess.’
Not knowing what else to do Sarah called Brunswick Heads police station and less than 10 mins later two officers from Byron were knocking on the front door.
‘One of them managed to get the snake by the back of the head and the tail. They got in the car and took it away and let it go in the wild.
‘I am so grateful for the actions of those officers. It’s not their job to catch snakes but when they heard what was happened they rushed over to help.’
Only a small amount of detective work was required to figure out how the snake had gotten in – there were tell-tale signs of disturbance beneath a bathroom window which has fixed louvers that can’t be closed.
‘The landlord was awesome about it when we told him,’ Sarah said. ‘He came round and fixed it straight away.’
A WIRES rep said that the Coastal Carpet Python is found throughout Northern New South Wales, and all the way to Cape York in Queensland. With a preferred habitat of rainforests and eucalypt forests, it is not unknown for this snake to turn up in the middle of suburbia. Pythons frequently enter unsealed roof cavities of houses where they provide a valuable and often unrecognised service feeding on vermin such as rats and mice.
With regard to the incident in question, WIRES was phoned at 12.30am and the volunteer Hotliner attempted to calm the distressed caller, checking that they were out of the room and had an alternative location to sleep for the night, which they indicated they did. The Hotliner then advised them to seal the room and that they would arrange for a snake rescuer to attend in the morning.
WIRES say as far as the know there are no recorded incidents of a baby being killed by a Coastal Carpet python, they would, however, advise that a baby’s room should be ‘snake proofed’ and secured with screened windows and doors.
Sarah said the incident was a reminder that living in an area of great natural beauty means occasionally having uninvited guests.
‘At the end of the day you know there are snakes around and sometimes they’re going to get in,’ she said. ‘Thankfully the baby slept through the whole thing. I was way more upset than she was.’