Deadly Venomous Snake Removed From School by Hand: 'Do Not Approach'

A snake catcher in Queensland, Australia has rescued schoolchildren from a horror day as a highly venomous snake was found in a school, nestled by the garbage bins.

Steven Brown of Brisbane North Snake Catchers and Relocation was called to Lawnton State School on the morning of February 22 after teachers discovered a snake on the school grounds. They cordoned off the area until the reptile could be removed.

Posting about the rescue on Facebook, Brown explained that it was an eastern brown snake, also known as a Pseudonaja textilis, "capable of a fatal bite if handled or harassed." He praised the staff who discovered the snake, adding they had "done an amazing job closing off the area until I got there."

Eastern Brown Snake Removed From School
Photos of the eastern brown snake removed from the school. Steven Brown removed the snake from the school in Lawnton, after it was found by the garbage bins. Brisbane North Snake Catchers & Relocation

The Australian Museum in Sydney suggests that the species is widespread throughout the east of the country. They can regularly be found in heavily populated areas, allowing them to cope with human disturbance.

Despite their relative ubiquity, the eastern brown snake is incredibly dangerous. Its venom contains harmful presynaptic neurotoxins, procoagulants, cardiotoxins and nephrotoxins. The Australian Museum says these can cause paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding.

After removing the snake safely and taking it to an area away from the school and residents, Brown told Newsweek about what he found.

He said: "The staff had closed off the area from the children, and the snake was in a fenced-off area where garbage bins were kept. They closed off about 20 to 30 meters [65 to 98 feet] around where the snake was.

"I did a quick search and the snake appeared, so I quickly grabbed it by the tail by hand. It was then taken well away from any homes and roads, and no one was hurt thankfully."

Brown said that the snake was about 3 feet in length, which is a bit smaller than the average 5-foot length for the species.

The school staff and pupils would have been relieved that the snake was removed safely and humanely. However, Brown didn't come away from the incident completely scar-free, but not because of a snake this time.

Snake Removed From School In Queensland
Photo of the eastern brown snake on grass. The reptile was removed by the Brisbane North Snake Catchers on February 22. Brisbane North Snake Catchers & Relocation

Writing on the Facebook post, Brown joked that he "got a couple of wasp stings for my troubles from a nest hiding under the lip of a garbage bin." He would have taken a wasp sting over a snake bite undoubtedly.

If anyone comes across this kind of snake in the future, Brown offers helpful advice about what someone can do.

He said: "These snakes are very common and are the second most venomous land snake on the planet, but if left alone, they will carry on with their own business. With it being snake season currently, they are on the move and looking for food.

"If you see a snake, do not approach it. Keep your distance and call a professional to remove the snake if need be. If it's in close proximity to you, it's best to stand still and allow the snake to move on. If you don't move, the snake won't see you as a threat."

Brown also highlighted the importance of never trying to remove a snake yourself. This is what snake catchers are trained and equipped to do.