Relax Everybody, Snake On Sydney Beach Is Not A Sign Of Snakepocalypse
So there's no need to be hisssssssssterical.
First we had the snake in Sydney's CBD. Now they've taken to the sand, with a diamond python spotted on Sydney's Balmoral Beach on Monday.
READ MORE: Snake Stops Traffic In Sydney CBD
A Mosman Council ranger captured and relocated the two-metre long snake after spotting it during an early morning walk, but managed to take a few snaps beforehand.
Is this a sign that snakes are not only slithering over our largest city but also taking up valuable real-estate on our sandy shores?
In short -- no.
“The general principle is that diamond pythons do live in suburbia," senior lecturer at the Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Dr Glenn Shea, told 10 daily.
"So consequently if there’s a house that has a diamond python associated with it in the garden and the adjacent bush land yes they will come out and bask and beaches are probably just as good a place to bask as anywhere else.”
As for why we've been seeing our slithery friends in the middle of the city, Dr Shea says that may simply be due to a case of mistaken transportation.
"So snakes will curl up in very small spaces after they’re active and the weather changes or something like that," he said.
"Sometimes those things they squeeze up and hide in might be things that are being transported by people, like boxes or pieces of pipe. So they go to sleep in one little crevice somewhere to sleep and when they wake up again they’re somewhere else.”
If you think snakes aren't around, you're probably wrong
Diamond pythons are native to Australia, so while we may not be accustomed to running into them on the beach, they're by no means rare.
But as Sydney University Professor Rick Shine explains, “snakes are very good at turning up where we don’t expect them.”
“Snakes are very good at finding a little oasis in the landscape that give them the things they need," he said.
This includes the right temperature, access to water and access to food -- things most easily found in your backyard. Variable weather, including dry conditions like we have seen more recently, often leads snakes near houses where there's water.
While radio tracking diamond pythons in Sydney's suburbs a few years ago, Shine determined the reptiles largely live in backyards, where these requirements are most easily met.
As ambush predators however, diamond pythons camouflage beautifully -- really beautifully.
"They don’t move for weeks at a time until a possum comes past. They can live in an area even when there’s lots of people around without being noticed," Shine explained.
"So you could actually get very large pythons living in quite heavily populated areas and escaping the notice of the people around them for months or years, so it doesn’t surprise me that a python could hang on in Balmoral."
So no, pythons aren't taking over. But if you're reading this in your backyard, one's probably watching you.
Just Let The Snake Bake
If you're still asking yourself what to do in the event you come past an unexpected snake, the answer is a resounding "leave it alone".
Diamond pythons are non-venomous, so the worst they're going to do is give you a good bite, Dr Shae said.
“Snakes very rarely attack, they’re usually trying to get away from you, so the only time a snake will normally bite you is if you’re trying to handle it, or if you’re in the way of the snake,"
"More people get bitten by venomous snakes when they’re trying to kill them, then getting bitten by them while leaving them alone.”