GOT HIM: George the snake handler from Byron Bay’s snake patrol has caught his 3000th snake.
GOT HIM: George the snake handler from Byron Bay’s snake patrol has caught his 3000th snake. Patrick Gorbunovs

Snakes alive, 3000 of them

WHEN George Ellis began relocating reptiles around the Byron Shire in 1996, he never thought he would catch thousands of the world's second most venomous snake- many from the town's main street.

Earlier this month the dedicated volunteer reptile catcher achieved a personal milestone, bagging his 3000th brown snake, on Tyagarah Rd at Myocum.

In his 17 years catching reptiles around the Byron Shire, Mr Ellis said he had caught more than 8370 snakes.

Since his milestone catch, Mr Ellis had captured another four brown snakes and is predicting a "legendary snake season".

"If the weather remains dry and warm it is going to be a legendary season for brown snakes," he said.

Mr Ellis said he had caught more brown snakes around Jonson St than any other area of the Byron Shire due to two factors.

"Many brown snakes sunbathe along the railway line, plus there are a lot of eating places which rats are attracted to and this attracts the snakes."

On Tuesday, Mr Ellis caught two eastern brown snakes, a 1.5m specimen at Brunswick Heads and a 1.65m brown at Goonengerry.

"Keeping your grass low, clearing unwanted rubbish from around the yard, and ensuring gaps under doors are small enough to block snake access are good precautionary measures against snakes."

Mr Ellis said it was thought brown snake numbers had increased as their natural predator, the red-bellied black snake, was being killed off by eating poisonous Cane Toads.

As the weather heats up, Mr Ellis advised people to be aware of snake bite first aid techniques and put a snake catcher's phone number in their mobile phones.

Snake safety

Freeze if you are within a car length of a snake.

If you are further than a car length away, run.

Leave the snake alone and phone a snake catcher.



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