Queensland Snake removalists are being affected by a new permit system which may have an even bigger impact in remote areas of Queensland where few registered Snake handlers are available. Snake catchers are a surprising service that pet owners often require in a tropical, bushy city like Cairns. Fortunately most snakes found in Cairns houses are pythons, so pose little threat to adult humans. Pets and small children may be at risk though, with cats regularly being taken by pythons in Cairns. Pets may also directly or indirectly attract snakes: spilt feed from pets or horses attract rats which attract snakes, and small pets like birds, chickens, guinea pigs and small dogs and cats may offer a tasty treat to a hungry python.
Cairns Snake removalists come from a variety of backgrounds. Some snake catchers are professional pest controllers. Others are reptile enthusiasts or wildlife carers. Other people just helped out a few times decades ago and got a reputation as a snake removalists. Overwhelmingly, they do it to help people out. Most charge a fee (which probably seems like a bargain to most of their customers!).
Queensland snake catchers under pressure from permit system
Recently there has been controversy about a new permit system which limits who can remove snakes in Queensland. In a town like Cairns with many Snake Removal options this may not dramatically impact residents, but in some remote areas, the new permit system means no one locally can legally remove snakes.
Read coverage of the new permit system impacting Cairns Snake removalists at the Courier Mail
New permit system squeezes out Queensland snake catchers
IT'S a sight that fills many with dread: finding a snake in the house.
But fewer trained snake catchers are volunteering to relocate snakes from homes because of a strict new permit system in Queensland.
Experts warn the damage mitigation permit has become so stringent outback towns like Emerald, Mount Isa, Blackwater and Charters Towers face having no-one officially registered to catch and remove reptiles.
"Singing" snake catcher Chris Roberts, with 50 years experience, yesterday said he may have voluntarily relocated his last reptile as he hauled a 3m scrub python from a family home in Cairns.
"I don't do it for the love or the money," said the 63-year-old baritone.
"I do it to put humans at ease and save the snakes, it is more of a community service, but the safety of people comes first.
"Most people untrained with handling snakes get bitten when they try to catch or kill them."
He said the tough new rules, believed to aimed at stemming wildlife poachers and liability issues, threaten to push him out of his lifelong passion.
"It is too much drama and paperwork for what is essentially a volunteer role."
In Cairns, there is one pet cat lost to a python, on average, every month.
Hungry scrub pythons have devoured nine cats in Cairns backyards in the past eight weeks alone.
Mr Roberts said he has removed at least three snakes over 7m-long and as thick as a man's thigh from roofs in recent years.