10,000 SNAKES: George Ellis, snake handler from Byron Bay’s Snake Patrol with a brown snake.
10,000 SNAKES: George Ellis, snake handler from Byron Bay’s Snake Patrol with a brown snake. Patrick Gorbunovs

Popular snake catcher George about to catch 10,000 serpent

BYRON Bay snake catcher George Ellis has been wrangling reptiles for almost 19 years and will soon bag his 10,000th slithering serpent.

The deadly Eastern Brown snake is a favourite of Mr Ellis', and, despite its lightning strike and potent venom, since he started catching snakes he has caught 3246 specimens.

Outdoors is the preferred habitat of the Eastern Brown, Mr Ellis said, with 2456 snakes caught outside compared to 790 inside.

Laid head to tail, the length of all the brown snakes Mr Ellis has bagged over the years measures an impressive 4.702km.

Across all species, Mr Ellis has caught a total of 9253 snakes, 5380 outdoors and 3873 indoors.

Mr Ellis said Rough Scaled snakes were another deadly species that was found locally.

Over the years he said he had caught 135 specimens, totalling 102.5m.

The 2014/2015 snake season was average, Mr Ellis said.

"It was only average because of the unsettled weather and the rain," he said.

Over the years, Mr Ellis said he had caught brown snakes up to 2.4m long in the Byron Bay CBD.

"The size of the snake doesn't matter in terms of its toxicity, the brown snakes are all the same," he said.

"They're generally between 1.6m and 1.8m."

"The only difference is the adults seem to have the capacity to 'dry bite' victims, not injecting venom, but the little ones don't seem to have that capacity."

With the right weather conditions, Mr Ellis predicted the 2015/2016 snake season could be a big one.

"If the bureau weather forecast is correct, i.e., that it's going to be a dry year then I suspect, based on precedents, it's going to be a doozy of a season if it's not too windy," he said.

"I've found over the years if it's windy, snakes tend to keep a low profile and when it dies down they come out again."

Mr Ellis said he hoped to continue catching snakes in the Byron Shire - as long as he could afford to do it.

For more information, or to donate to Mr Ellis so he can continue his snake work, visit http://www.byronsnakepatrol.com.

SNAKE STATS

Since November 1996

Total snakes caught: 9253

Brown snakes: 3246

Rough Scaled snakes: 135

Brown snakes in Byron Bay: 807

Total days catching snakes: 6770



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