20 Deadly Snakes Mysteriously Invade Couple's Home

A couple whose home in Cape York Peninsula, Australia, has been invaded by 20 highly toxic death adders somehow avoided any potentially fatal snakebites.

Sally Gray and Graham Woods live on a rural homestead in Queensland, where they manage the Piccaninny Plains Wildlife Reserve. They face grave danger on a daily basis from the wild adders, which keep making themselves at home on their property.

The pair, who are conservationists, find one or two of the reptiles a week in places like their laundry basket, kitchen or dining room. "They turn up as we've got our back turned in the evening, while we're cooking dinner," Gray said to ABC News.

Gray has to be very careful when walking around the house at night, so she doesn't step on one of the deadly creatures. "We've got very good at watching where we put our feet," she said.

Death Adder Snake
The death adder is one of Australia's deadliest snakes, with a bite and envenomation producing symptoms such as neuromuscular paralysis, disruption of equilibrium, sweating, and death from respiratory failure if no medical attention is sought. A couple in Queensland has found a total of 20 death adders on their property. Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Australia has six of the top ten deadliest snake species in the world, and there are a number of death adders or Acanthophis to be wary of. This snake species is among the most venomous on the planet, and a close relative to the mamba, cobra and coral snake. A death adder can inject on around 40–100 mg of venom containing neurotoxin upon biting, attacking the nerve tissue. The toxin causes paralysis, followed by respiratory failure within six hours.

Gray and Woods have been extremely fortunate that their dog is a natural snake detector. In one instance the dog went over to a medical kit, and underneath was an adder. "She's become very adept at raising our awareness and moving the snakes without getting bitten herself," said Gray. Luckily the snakes are not aggressive, they hunt by waiting for prey to pass, before attacking. "They're actually very docile, very quiet," said the conservationist.

The couple removes every snake by pushing the reptile into a bag with a long stick or a broom. They then release the creatures several miles away from the house.

It still unknown as to why the reptiles are so attracted to Gray and Woods' house, as these snakes usually eat smaller reptiles like lizards. One theory is that it has been a mild wet season and the adders are looking for water.

If Grey or Woods were to be bitten in this remote area they would dress the wound with a compression bandage and call the emergency services. Medical professionals would administer a death adder anti-venom, which reverses the effects of the bite. The couple has an airstrip for emergency access. "It becomes a way of life that you have to be conscious that you have to take care of yourself," said Gray.

The 430,000-acre Piccanniny Plains reserve is owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and is a place of ecological diversity, with rainforests, woodlands, wetlands and grasslands. It's home to plenty of exotic wildlife like the palm cockatoo, more than 20 species of frogs, the red goshawk and the spotted cuscus.

Newsweek has contacted Piccanniny Plains for further comment.