DEADLY CATCH: Snake catcher Roy McGrath with a 1.3 m eastern brown snake.
DEADLY CATCH: Snake catcher Roy McGrath with a 1.3 m eastern brown snake. Alistair Brightman

Wrangler's warning after fatal brown bite

ONE of the most dangerous times of the year for deadly snakes is upon us as they look for last meals before winter.

That's the warning from the region's veteran snake-catcher Roy McGrath who has been inundated with calls for help to relocate reptiles from homes and backyards across the Coast.

Several have been eastern browns, the species which has claimed more Australians than any other.

It comes just weeks after a former Maryborough man was killed within minutes following a juvenile eastern brown bite at his family home in Townsville.

Aaron Bryant had removed the snake from his home, unaware it was one of the world's most venomous.

Mr McGrath said eastern browns were out in force at the moment ahead of winter hibernation and urged anyone who saw one not to attempt to deal with it themselves.

"He should never have tried to tackle that snake," Mr McGrath said

"There's a reason why a snake catcher can't get life insurance.

"It's very sad, a (Maryborough) lady has lost her son and three kids have lost their father.

"It should never have happened."

In his 65 years as a snake-catcher, Mr McGrath has handled thousands of venomous snakes and never been bitten.

While there is a modest call-out fee for snake-catchers with his expertise, Mr McGrath says there's "no money in it".

"Would you go into a room not knowing where the snake was for $50-90?" he quipped

"Still, I've been out to many jobs where pensioners and people on low incomes don't have the money and and I get them out of the hospital every summer."

Like a human fingerprint, snakes can be identified by their unique scale count (a brown has 19).

Mr McGrath encouraged anyone who found a snakeskin on their property to call so he could let them know if their reptile resident was dangerous.

He can be phoned on 0418 745 329.


REVEALED: Snake hotspots on the Fraser Coast

CHOOK sheds, anywhere with mice, bird aviaries and unkempt yards are havens for deadly eastern brown snakes says Roy McGrath.

While the 26 species of snake which frequent the Fraser Coast tend to prefer different environments, Mr McGrath is called to some more than others when it comes to browns.

Dundowran and the Ghost Hill area behind Christensen St in Wondunna are the two top hotspots.

He says other favourite hiding places for, browns, which were most active during the day, included under metal sheeting, leaf litter and rubbish.

Other poisonous species like the red-bellied black prefer swampy areas near dams and creeks.

The coastal taipan is commonly found on rural properties, particularly in cane fields and in sand dunes.