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Dangerous snake refuses to leave ute

Written by on May 14, 2024

A woman has given up trying to remove a dangerous red-bellied black snake from her car after four snake catchers failed to finish the job.

The snake has likely been stuck inside Lisa Kournelis’s car for more than a month and despite efforts to have it removed, the stubborn reptile refuses to leave.

She suspects the snake snuck into her ute while she left the door open at a construction worksite west of Newcastle, where she was working in March.

She said she got quite a shock when she spotted the snake’s iconic black and red scales against the dark fabric of her car’s back seat.

However, she decided to drive the car home because she feared her car would be vandalised if she left it at the worksite.

Four snake catchers have tried and failed to remove the reptile.

“One catcher had it by the tail but unfortunately let it go,” Ms Kournelis told The Project.

“He didn’t want to pull at it because it might hurt the snake. He let it go and he thought it would go straight into the bag but it whipped around.”

She said she also had her car’s interior pulled out twice and cameras inserted to locate the snake, but every day she returns to her car, the snake is sitting on her back seat.

Rather than let it scare her, she has decided to nickname it “Fluffy” and continues to drive the car with it in the back seat.

She wears long woollen pants in an effort to protect herself against the snake’s bite.

While venomous, red-bellied black snakes are considered one of the least dangerous snakes in Australia and there are no recorded deaths to date as a result of their bite.

Despite this, they are one of the most frequently encountered snakes on the east coast of Australia.

“Many bite victims experience only mild or negligible symptoms; however, a number also end up hospitalised,” the Australian Museum says on its website.

“The health risks to children and pets are greater due to their smaller size. As individual reactions to envenomation can vary, all suspected bites should be treated as serious and medical attention sought as soon as possible.”