Snake handler Roy McGrath.
Snake handler Roy McGrath. Megan Pope

Taipan death shocking even for local handler

A FRASER Coast snake handler is warning people not to be complacent around snakes after a man died in Rockhampton.

Roy McGrath was left shocked after hearing the snake catcher died 50 minutes after being bitten.

"I was in shock," Roy said.  

While Roy doesn't come across as many Taipans as the Eastern Brown snake on the Fraser Coast, he said it was hard to comprehend.

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"It didn't take long for him to die, they are so venomous," Roy, 76, said. 

"They usually have a 12-14mm fang and can even bite through a leather boot," Roy, 76, said.

Wayne Cameron was on a job catching a Coastal Taipan, one of the world's deadliest snakes in Rockhampton, when he was bitten and died only 50 minutes later.

Wayne Cameron working for his own business, Reptrix Reptile
Wayne Cameron working for his own business, Reptrix Reptile

Roy said it was a sad scenario to hear about another snake handler's life being lost on the job.

His message to the Fraser Coast is if you're not experienced and don't know what you're doing, leave them alone.

While Roy hasn't ever been bitten in his long career as a snake handler, he has had close calls with Eastern Browns.

"I've had Eastern Browns in my own garage come straight for me," he said.

Only this week Roy had a call out to a property at Gayndah where snakes were around the house due to rats and mice.

"If you have food there, you're going to get snakes," he warned.

Roy said on average he would handle close to 50 Eastern Browns compared to about five Taipans. 


  • Five suspected snake bites in past five weeks
  • 4 from Hervey Bay and 1 from Maryborough
  • None showed signs of  venom