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Old 10-04-03, 06:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Trenton
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Snakes take to beaches

From the Sunday Mail.,00.html

Snakes take to beaches
SOME of Australia's most dangerous snakes have been found on beaches because they cannot find green space in southeast Queensland's spreading suburbs.

Gold Coast snake-catcher Jason Lowndes blames the real estate boom for an incident at Burleigh Heads last week, when a brown snake was "tormented" by onlookers and eventually killed by council workers.

"I found out about this three hours after the event, and the stupid part is that I live only four minutes away," he said.

Mr Lowndes, one of only four active registered snake-catchers in southeast Queensland, said he hoped to meet with other experts and establish a management plan to present to State Environment Minister Dean Wells.

He said the plan should include first-aid courses in schools and an 1800 number to report snake incidents.

Mr Lowndes, 33, said the "last remaining green spaces in our suburbs are rapidly disappearing along with our hinterland and these animals have nowhere else to go".

"The eastern brown snake is now so common it's rapidly becoming what I call a 'weed' species," he said.

"The species is benefiting from El Nino and the drought, being more tolerant of the conditions than others, and its survival rate has increased with the decline of its natural enemy, the red-bellied black snake."

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Scott Hetherington said snakes were protected and presented little danger when left alone.

SNAKES ALIVE: Jason Lowndes carefully handles a deadly tiger snake
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May you live in interesting times.
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