Venomous Snake Caught at School

A venomous snake that was about to shed its skin was found at a school in Australia hiding beneath some hay bales.

The red-bellied snake was spotted by the school maintenance man who contacted the Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7. Stuart McKenzie, from the snake catching business, attended the call out.

Video shows how McKenzie had to slowly sift through the hay bales, pulling them back before he could find the snake.

"The school's maintenance man was very lucky when he was moving around some hay bales and found a Red Belly hiding underneath one," McKenzie wrote in a Facebook post.

"Luckily the snake was opaque and about to shed its skin so was very slow and wanted nothing to do with him and moved under the remaining hay bales to hide again."

On catching the snake, McKenzie said: "[It's a] nice sized red-belly. Doesn't belong in a school though."

Red-bellied snakes are a venomous species found across eastern Australia. They are medium-sized, growing to between five and 6.5 feet. They are black with bright red scales on the outer edge of the ventral scales.

According to Australia Museum, they are one of the most frequently encountered snake species and are known to bite humans when threatened. If harassed, it can lash out and sometimes hangs onto its attacker "and chew savagely."

Its venom can result in bleeding and swelling at the site, vomiting, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, sweating, muscle weakness and diarrhea.

Australia Museum says the red-bellied snake is "probably the least dangerous elapid snake in Australia" as despite the number of bites recorded every year, very few deaths have ever been recorded.

Children and pets are at most risk, the Museum said.

red-bellied snake
Stock image of a red-bellied snake. A snake was found at a school hiding under some hay bales. Getty Images

After catching the red-bellied snake, McKenzie released it near a creek so it could shed its skin in peace. "Remember snakes want nothing to do with us so give them the distance and respect they deserve and they will leave you alone!!" he wrote.

Snake activity picked up recently in eastern Australia after parts of the country experienced extremely heavy rainfall. During these conditions, snakes tend to hide away, and when the weather gets drier and warmer, they emerge looking for food.

In another recent call out, McKenzie and colleagues were contacted after an eastern brown snake—Australia's deadliest species—was found in a family's couch. After pulling up the lever of the couch leg rest, the snake fell out.

"It disappeared up into the couch again and we couldn't find it anywhere," he said. "With the owner's permission we cut into the base fabric of the couch to try and locate the snake. We eventually found it and were able to bag it up and relocate it elsewhere."