SNAKE SEASON: The pale-headed western brown on the left was caught by Alice Springs snake catcher Rex Neindorf at a child care centre in Alice Springs. The black-headed western brown was caught at a home.
SNAKE SEASON: The pale-headed western brown on the left was caught by Alice Springs snake catcher Rex Neindorf at a child care centre in Alice Springs. The black-headed western brown was caught at a home. Rex Neindorf

Brown snake captured in childcare centre

A "PERFECT storm" in terms of weather conditions brought deadly snakes out in big numbers in Central Australia earlier in the week.

Alice Springs snake catcher Rex Neindorf and his team wrangled 11 poisonous snakes from the two in a single day on Monday. One of those was a deadly pale-headed western brown snake found slithering among sleeping children in a childcare centre in the town.

"Of the 11 snakes we caught on Monday 9 or 10 of them were western browns," Mr Neindorf told Rural Weekly.

"This time of year, we can often get five or six call outs in a day, but nothing like the 11 we had on Monday." Mr Neindorf, who also runs the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, said the day before when the weather was dry he only had two or three call outs to catch snakes.

"On Monday the clouds came in and so did the humidity and once you have that bit of raised humidity that sends everything berserk.

"The insects come out and the skinks start moving hunting the insects and the snakes come out to hunt the skinks.

"When you get that perfect weather around the low 30s combined with heavy cloud cover that combines to be a perfect day for snakes.

"That's because, even though we get a few when it's hot dry weather, we don't get as many because it is too hot and that's because (the snakes) don't sweat.

"So, we get them from all over the place in those conditions. We get them from hatchlings right up to adults.

"It is also getting close to when the weather will turn colder overnight so they are out getting their last feeds in before going into hibernation around the middle of May."

Mr Neindorf said relief from the snakes around the town may only be a few days away.

"Looking at the weather it's going to change over the weekend. We look like going from 30-odd degree days with 17-18 degrees overnight and then on Sunday the forecast is for 27 degrees with an overnight temperature of 11 degrees.

"That will take all the night time activity from the snakes out, so it would generally be during daytime only that we will see them.

"And then we generally get a few weeks of that nice weather and then it becomes too cold for them overall and they go into hibernation."

While Monday was an "exceptional day" for snake catching, Mr Neindorf said overall the number caught so far this year had been down on last year for the same period.

"We caught about 100 in January, about 150 in February and about another 120 in March this year," Mr Neindorf said. "We haven't caught anywhere near the numbers we caught last year."


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