Snakes in the bottle shop, in the bath and at the pool
SNAKES have been the subject of horror movies and a symbol of evil - so it's hardly any surprise they've had a tough time through the ages.
Dallarnil snake catcher Andrew Buckley is on a mission to change the negative perception around snakes - and the urge to kill them - through education.
"People have an attitude that snakes are bad," the Buckley's Snake Relocation Service owner said.
He referred to the tragic case of mistaken identity that plagues the freshwater keelback which generally lives around rocky dams and rivers.
"Idiot people who kill them think they're browns," Mr Buckley said.
"They're a pleasant snake to deal with."
Mr Buckley said freshwater keelbacks also carried out a vital service by eating cane toads, something that not every snake will do.
"People have an urge to kill," he said.
Mr Buckley said it was a situation made worse by the fact he couldn't recall a single case where a person had been charged for killing a snake, despite them being a protected species.
"What good is a law if no one enforces it?" he said.
Recent cases in the region have kept the snake catcher busy, with a triple treat at the Childers shopping complex.
One brown tree snake had made itself at home in the door frame of the bottle shop, while a big eastern brown decided on a quick dash into Woolworths and back. A third baby brown was found dead in the car park.
Mr Buckley said snakes would often hitch a ride in vehicles, which is how they could end up in shopping centres and their car parks.
Yesterday, Mr Buckley removed an eastern brown from the pool at Biggenden.
But he said snakes were not looking to make a meal out of people, they were simply reactive creatures who based their actions off what they observed of people and other animals.
Small, caged animals are common prey, however, but those animals are an easy meal because they can't travel very far.
You're more likely to die from a car, a cow or a horse, Mr Buckley says.
"The only way people are going to learn to live with snakes is through education."
Mr Buckley is now studying with hopes to become a wildlife ranger and further increase awareness.
"Leave them be," he said.
"If you're scared of something, learn about it."
Mr Buckley said at present, he'd noticed a fair few eastern browns and said tree snakes were most likely being coaxed out by the availability of green tree frogs after recent rain.
As for the perception that snakes are more likely to appear in the countryside, he said that was not quite true.
Snakes, he says, are more likely to pop up in suburban areas where they have fewer places to hide.
After four years of snake catching in the region, Mr Buckley says the attitude in Bundaberg is slowly changing.
When the NewsMail asked readers to share their snake pics, many stories came in, including snakes hanging out a locals' front doors, one living in a garage and another who has been named Kevin.
Another local said they'd spotted a red-bellied black and had a snake in their guinea pig cage.
They've also been spotted in bathtubs and toilets.
A snake bit a woman at Sandy Hook boat ramp yesterday and she was taken to hospital in a stable condition.