Pythons Found Lurking in BBQs Prompts Warning from Snake Expert

An Australian snake catcher has advised residents to check their barbecues before use after several call-outs about huge snakes found lurking inside.

Stuart McKenzie, the owner of Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, published footage of the various encounters to his business Facebook account today, showing how the popular cooking apparatus can become an easy habitat for the reptiles.

In the clip, McKenzie explains that snakes will venture into a BBQ for food and shelter via the multitude of gaps on appliance. The wrangler, whose videos often go viral on the social network, can be seen removing the snakes for alarmed clients.

"It's the time of year where the family BBQ's are in full swing but you have to be aware that it is a perfect hiding spot for carpet pythons," he wrote. "Usually the BBQ isn't cleaned properly and scraps are left in the tray which may attract rodents which can then bring in snakes. Be sure to check your BBQ for snakes before you turn it on!"

The three-minute video documents a series of jobs involving carpet pythons, which are a non-venomous constrictor species that grows to up to 13 feet long, although the average size typically captured by Snake Catchers 24/7 is over half that size.

The footage shows McKenzie relocating a python that was curled up under the grill of a person's barbecue outside, while another portion of the video shows a six-foot-long carpet python sprawled and sunbathing on top of a metal barbecue.

"It's just a warning that when you're opening the barbecue for the first time in a couple of months to use it, definitely check everywhere before you turn it on, because there might just be a little python hiding inside," the snake expert says in the video.

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While large and imposing, the carpet python has been described as being one of the most commonly encountered species of snake in the Sunshine Coast region.

"They are often found within close proximity to homes and are often not too bothered by human presence compared to other shy snake species," the Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 website explains in a fact-sheet about the native species.

"Large specimens can take small suburban pets such as dogs, cats, chickens and guinea pigs with smaller specimens taking caged birds. Their diet consists of mainly mammals such as rodents, possums etc; also some reptiles, birds and frogs. They will often be found basking in the sun in trees, on fences or even on your roof."

According to his Facebook page, it has been a busy week for McKenzie, who noted on
Monday he had about half a dozen calls about snakes that had entered homes.

"Crazy! It makes sense though as it was so hot last week that the snakes were trying to get out of the heat and enjoy the air conditioning as well," he wrote.

"Most of them were able to get in due to a door or window being left open. They can also squeeze in around garage roller doors or through gaps under doors. Please make sure you secure your house so that snakes and other animals can't enter."

Earlier this month in Australia, a woman called for expert help after finding a venomous copperhead snake under her Christmas tree, and a man spotted a highly-venomous red bellied black snake as it was slithering into a kitchen cupboard of his new home.

Carpet Python
Stock image: Red hypomelanistic Jaguar Carpet Python. An Australian snake catcher has advised residents to check their barbeques before use after several call-outs about huge snakes found lurking inside. iStock