Family Finds Venomous Snake Lurking Under Swimming Pool Deck

A snake found lurking under a swimming pool deck in Australia this week was captured at the last second as it tried to flee from a reptile catcher.

Stuart McKenzie, owner of Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, shared footage of the encounter to Facebook, showing how he grabbed the venomous red-bellied black snake by the tail to stop it slithering out of his reach.

"Woah, I nearly didn't get it," McKenzie said, pulling the animal from the pool decking. It was 4 to 5 feet long, he said.

The snake was found on Wednesday at a home in Twin Waters, a suburb of Maroochydore in the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland. The video showed McKenzie creeping up behind the reptile as it was sitting close to some grass and flowers.

"We often get called to homes in Twin Waters for red-bellied black snake relocations, but this one was seen sitting right under a pool deck about to disappear," he wrote.

"Sneaking up on the healthy red belly, with no time to waste, he bolted under the deck but I managed to quickly get a hand on his tail before he disappeared! Thank goodness for that as that could have turned into a long and frustrating job," McKenzie added.

The catcher said the snake was close to shedding its skin—a process known as ecdysis—pointing out that its colors were not as vibrant as they typically are.

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Shedding is a normal part of a snake's life. Experts say it occurs about once a month and helps to remove parasites.

Animal Planet explains in an online factsheet: "The frequency of [snake] shedding depends on many factors: species, age, nutritional and reproductive status, the presence of skin parasites or bacteria, and ambient enclosure temperature and humidity."

The red-bellied snake captured in Twin Waters was safely relocated to some bushland, where it quickly disappeared after its release.

"Pretty lucky to get him, to be honest. He had options of going under the deck or into the garden. He tried to get away ... thankfully I was able to grab him," McKenzie said.

The species is considered very venomous to humans but is typically shy and would only deliver a serious bite when under severe distress, according to the Australian Museum. Despite its timid nature, it is responsible for several bites every year.

According to the museum, its venom has anticoagulant and myotoxic effects, with symptoms including bleeding, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

For its size, however, the red-bellied black is "probably the least dangerous elapid snake in Australia" and is tied to "few human deaths," the museum said.

On Tuesday, Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 shared an image of a deadly eastern brown snake that had "decided to launch itself" off a two-story balcony and onto the ground after it had been approached by a member of the reptile relocation team.

Red-bellied Black Snake
A red-bellied black snake. One of the venomous reptiles found lurking under a swimming pool deck in Australia this week was captured at the last second as it tried to flee. Getty