I was reaching out to open the lid on my compost bin this morning and my hand stopped just 30 cm from this snake. After leaping back about two metres I realised that with all the rain we’ve had, this snake was probably trying to warm up and a black plastic lid was the ideal place.
I was able to grab my camera, with a long lens, so I could keep at a distance. I know very little about snake behaviour, but this snake seemed to take a leisurely yawn, which I was able to photograph. Of course it could have been giving me a warning signal that it was about to attack so I moved well away.
I’m pretty sure, after consulting the Queensland Museum’s excellent book Wildlife of Greater Brisbane, that this is a common tree snake which is not venomous, but as snakes can be very difficult to identify, it’s best to assume any snake you see is dangerous. Even if they are non-venomous, sharp teeth can give you a nasty bite.
So if you’re taking a walk in Brisbane, remember there are snakes around, so stick to the track, make lots of noise (to give snakes a chance to move away before you get near them) and don’t let children run ahead. Most people who are bitten have tried to attack or touch the snake. The Queensland Museum has some good advice and reassurance and a link to first aid for bites.
I think it’s wonderful that wildlife can survive in an urban environment, but I might put the scraps in my other compost bin, which is in a more open area, and open the lid with a long stick for a while.