Australia's Deadliest Snake Found Inside Family's AC Unit

A large snake belonging to the most deadly species in Australia was found inside a family's air conditioning unit in what a snake catcher described as an "insane" find.

Stuart McKenzie, from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, was attending a call out in Marcoola, a coastal town about 60 miles north of Brisbane, when he found the Eastern brown snake. In a Facebook post, he said the "decent-sized" creature had been spotted slithering around the village.

Eastern browns are responsible for more deaths in Australia than any other snake species. It is a venomous species that tends to be nervous and reacts defensively when surprised or cornered, Australia Museum says in a profile of the animal.

Its venom contains powerful toxins that can lead to progressive paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding. Some deaths have resulted from bleeding to the brain because of problems with clotting. The initial bite is also generally painless and can be difficult to detect. Many bites are the result of people trying to kill these snakes, so "could obviously have been avoided," the museum said.

In the encounter in Marcoola, McKenzie said a man who had been following the snake from a distance saw it go underneath an air conditioning unit. "After searching the area for a while, I came to terms with having to pull apart this aircon, where we found the Eastern brown snake hiding up inside," he said.

In footage posted to Facebook, McKenzie can be seen lifting up the lid after removing a panel from the unit. After shining a torch inside, he sees the snake. "That is insane," he says on seeing the snake.

He grabs the snake by the tail and it dangles for about a minute while McKenzie arranges a bag to put it in. "That there is a huge brown snake," he said, later saying it was between four and five feet in length. He is later shown releasing the snake and says the case shows how these animals can get anywhere.

A day later McKenzie was then called out to another report of an Eastern brown snake in the locality of Diddillibah, about five miles from Marcoola. In this encounter, which McKenzie described as "sketchy," the snake was in some bushes outside a man's house.

He said the snake was "nice and relaxed" until he and his team showed up. After attempting to catch the snake in the open, it fled underneath the house and McKenzie was forced to crouch down and look in the dark in a bid to catch it.

Footage shows the cornered snake lunging at a breathless McKenzie before he gets it into a bag. "The poor little guy got very defensive as we had to corner him to catch him in one of the most dangerous situations I've had to deal with," he wrote.

eastern brown snake
Stock image showing a juvenile Eastern Brown Snake. A snake catcher was called out two reports of brown snakes at separate houses in eastern Australia. iStock