Toddler Chasing Deadly Snake Leads to Discovery of Nest With 110 Eggs

An Australian family was left "pretty shaken up" after finding its toddler chasing after a deadly eastern brown snake last week.

Snake catchers from Wild Conservation were called on March 9 to the property in Sydney. "[They] said they had a brown snake problem, which we get a lot but this turned out a little different," Wild said in a Facebook post.

After digging around the property, snake catcher Kane Durrant found over 100 hatched eastern brown snake eggs in the family's backyard, along with two larger deadly snakes.

"The residents first found around 10 baby snakes in the front garden two months ago," Durrant told Newsweek. "Then this week their 2-year-old child found one in the house and tried to capture it."

Snake eggs found at Australian home
Snake catcher Kane Durrant stands beside piles of hatched eastern brown snake eggs at a home in Sidney, Australia. He discovered a total of 110 eggs in the family's backyard. Kane Durrant/Wild Conservation/Rachel Durrant

Eastern brown snakes are responsible for more snakebite fatalities than any other species in Australia. Their venom, which is considered to be the second-most toxic venom in the world, contains a potent neurotoxin that slowly shuts down the victim's heart, lungs and diaphragm, causing the person to suffocate.

The species is found throughout eastern Australia—hence their name. Their native habitat overlaps with some of the most populated parts of the country, so it is not uncommon to find them in people's homes and properties.

The house in question was located in a semirural area with grasslands nearby. "The concrete provided a warm, sheltered place for the snakes to nest safely with food nearby," Durrant said.

When Durrant arrived at the property, he quickly found 110 hatched eastern brown snake eggs, which is a lot more than what you would typically find in a single nest. "Eastern brown snakes can lay up to about 30 eggs, with 15 being more usual," he said.

The eggs were therefore likely to have been laid by multiple females over several years, which he said indicated a communal, or at least an annual, nesting site.

Under a slab of concrete, Durrant also found a 3-foot red-bellied black snake—another highly venomous species—and a 2-foot-long adult eastern brown, which he said may have been feeding on the newly hatched baby snakes.

Eastern brown snake
This adult eastern brown snake was found underneath a concrete slab in the home's garden. Rachel Durrant/Kane Durrant/WILD Conservation

It's not common to find multiple snake species in the same yard but not unheard-of," he said. "We removed an eastern brown and a red belly from the same hole under a children's slide at a local park recently."

Durrant said the snake catchers are working with the family to safely oversee the removal of the snakes from the property.

"We have made a plan with the resident to remove the path with a machine while Wild Conservation supervises to capture any snakes. We have already removed four venomous snakes from the property," he said.