Snake cooling off in toilet bites Australian woman as punishing heatwave continues
A woman in Australia was bitten by a snake that had curled up in a toilet bowl to seek refuge from a weeks-long heatwave that has seen temperature records smashed.
Helen Richards said she got the fright of her life after she was bitten by a non-venomous carpet python hiding inside a toilet bowl in the house of a relative in Brisbane.
“When I sat down I felt this really sharp tap on my bottom along with some pain. I thought holy s**! What was that?” she told Channel 10 in Brisbane.
“When you’ve got your nickers and long pants around your ankles it’s pretty hard to go far, and to be honest it was like running a three-legged race without a friend.”
The snake was also left unhappy. “He didn’t appreciate that shower under the full moon,” Mrs Richards said.
After the initial shock, both parties calmed down and Mrs Richards was able to shepherd the snake into a corner until a wildlife handler arrived, removed the reptile.
In Sydney on Friday, Georgie Campbell, a venomous snake handler with Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Service came to the aid of three snakes.
“It’s pretty typical in the summer you get quite a few snakes because they love the heat and are much more active during the day,” she said.
“I get them out of toilets when they’ve gone to get a drink. Not just toilets but bird baths, fish ponds and watering holes.”
Other Australian wildlife has not fared as well in the prolonged heat. In Western Australia’s Goldfield Region, 2,500 camels that had wandered in from the Gibson desert to congregate around water sources on remote cattle stations were culled on Thursday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
It followed the culling of 50 wild horses at a waterhole in central Australia last week where another 40 horses had already died of thirst.
Back in November, a separate heatwave wiped out around 30,000 spectacled flying foxes – nearly half of the continent’s population. The animals, which experience fatal heat stress when temperatures surpass 42C, were seen falling from trees into backyards and swimming pools from Sydney to Cairns.
“This sort of event has not happened in Australia this far north since European settlement,” President of the Australasian Bat Society Dr Justin Welbergen told the BBC in November.
“It is clear from the present data that these vents are having a very serious impact on the species. And it’s clear from climate change projections that this is set to escalate in the future.”