Close encounter with world’s second deadliest snake all in a day’s work

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

The Brown in defensive pose as it’s released into bushland (Snake Rescue Sunny Coast)
The Brown in defensive pose as it’s released into bushland (Snake Rescue Sunny Coast)

Most of us would do whatever it takes to avoid an encounter with the world’s second-deadliest snake, the Australian Eastern Brown.

But Ryan Fuller was calm and composed when he climbed in to a confined space with one angry Brown under a Sunshine Coast home in June.

His YouTube video shows the snake striking repeatedly towards Ryan as he tried to remove it from a crawl space.

Ryan, and partner Dimity, run Snake Rescue Sunny Coast, a reptile capture and relocation business operating from Caloundra to Noosa.

They’d been called in to remove the Brown snake from behind a staircase. Their only option was to go through a small side door into a crawl space.

“To anyone who doesn’t work with snakes, it looks like insanity. Staying calm comes with experience and an understanding of snake behaviour.

“But this catch did keep me on my toes as it left me very little room for error.”

The snake seems aggressive in the video, but Ryan said it’s actually defending itself.

“It’s a defensive display. The snake is trying to make itself look bigger and more threatening to scare off would-be predators.

“It’s a misunderstanding that snakes are aggressive. They’re very shy creatures that avoid us at all costs. A snake will only bite is if it’s been stepped on, cornered, or harassed.”

The snake was eventually captured and taken away for safe release in bushland.

Ryan is one of a growing number of Queensland snake catchers posting videos of their work to social media, and people just can’t get enough.

Ryan has been a snake catcher for four years, and Dimity for seven. Ryan said he’s been obsessed with reptiles since he was a kid.

“I saw them as such misunderstood animals. I would be constantly watching people like Steve Irwin and David Attenborough.

“I joined a local herpetology group which just fuelled my passion even further. I got a chance to do a snake handling course and then head out on jobs with a mentor and the rest is history.”

In busy times, Ryan gets up to eight callouts a day, and it’s a round the clock operation.

Dimity and Ryan run Snake Rescue Sunny Coast

“The main snakes we see and catch are Coastal Carpet Pythons. We also get a lot of Tree Snakes, Keelbacks and Red-Bellied Black Snakes. We have so many cool snakes on the Sunshine Coast.

“A rare snake we love coming across is the Bandy Bandy. Such a unique snake with a really quirky defensive display.

“Our busiest time of year is breeding season, from August, when all the males are travelling, looking for females. They often get themselves spotted and in trouble.

“We call ourselves ‘rescue’ rather than ‘catcher’ because it aligns with who we are and what we aim to achieve.

“We have a passion for conservation and are often out saving snakes and reptiles that have been hit by cars or attacked by pets.”

Ryan said people who want to work with snakes should join a reptile group and find a mentor.

And his advice for people with a fear of snakes?

“Snakes aren’t the monsters most people make them out to be. They are shy animals that will go out of their way to avoid coming in contact with us.

“If you see a snake on your property that you are unsure about, or you just need some advice, you can always call your local catcher.”