One of the most venomous serpents in the world — an Eastern Brown snake — was found sleeping inside an Australian woman’s bed on Monday. Images of the massive reptile, about six feet long, spread quickly on social media after professional snake catcher Zachary Richards, of Zachery’s Snake and Reptile Relocation, posted them following the call-out.
He told CBS News he was called to the scene in the tiny rural town of Maroon, in Queensland, to safely remove the snake.
“When I arrived, she [the resident] was waiting outside for me, and I went inside to the bedroom that the snake was in, and she had the door shut with a towel underneath, so it couldn’t get out,” he said. “I pushed the door open, and it was lying in bed looking at me.”
“The snake would have probably come in through an open door to seek shelter as it was quite warm outside that day, or it just wanted a nice comfortable bed to sleep in,” he suggested.
The homeowner took the right steps to safely contain the snake before she called him, according to the veteran snake catcher.
“If you see a snake, you want to leave it alone, back away from it and where possible and safe to do so, confine it to the one room as it makes it easier for us to find,” he said.
Richards said he brought the snake to some nearby bushland and left it a safe distance from other residences.
Eastern Brown snakes are widespread in eastern Australia, hence their name. The species has the unique distinction of causing more deaths from snake bites than any other species of snake in Australia, according to the Australian museum.
The snake’s venom contains powerful neurotoxins, and if a human is bitten and not treated, it can cause progressive paralysis and uncontrolled bleeding. The neurotoxin can shut down the victim’s heart, diaphragm and lungs, causing them to suffocate.
Richards posted images showing the snake sleeping on the bed on his Facebook page, with a caption urging people to “check the bed carefully tonight!”
One of the hundreds of comments was from someone saying they’d be “sleeping on the couch tonight,” while another said they’d move out of the area “immediately” if it had happened to them.
Richards told CBS News his company routinely deals with calls from residents near Queensland’s Gold Coast, and that Monday’s Eastern Brown snake encounter wasn’t even the largest he’d seen, having once “relocated an eight-foot Eastern Brown from Lake Moogerah.”