News stories – Slippery intruder finds little charity in store: slippery find at Vinnies

This article was originally published in print in The Herbert River Express on June 14  2017. To check out the photos I took of the snake being measured and released click here.

IF YOU thought you had a bad start to the week, think about the Ingham charity worker who faced off with a python at Ingham’s St Vincent de Paul charity store.

On Monday a volunteer at the Herbert Street shop located the 5.8m, 17.5kg scrub python wrapped around the roof rafters in the storeroom.

Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time the store has encountered a slithery intruder in recent years.

Store volunteer Mario Garutti said snake handler Mandi Koch was brought in and climbed a ladder to get to the intruder down.

Ms Koch “manhandled the snake” to capture it.

Mr Garutti said staff members had noticed quite a few snake skins hanging off the rafters in the past couple of months and wondered where the snake was.

He said about several years ago another snake fell through the roof and was found hidden under a clothing rack.

Ms Koch said the scrub python was one of her most commonly caught snakes.

“Generally they’re nocturnal, so they don’t move around a lot during the day,” Ms Koch said.

She said they were non-venomous, not scared of people and mostly fed on rats and small animals.

The experienced snake handler said it was best to leave the snake where it was.

“It’s eating all the rats, making sure your wiring isn’t getting chewed up,” Ms Koch said. “Generally, they won’t be there if there’s no food source.”

Ms Koch said she usually caught snakes on her own but was grateful for the assistance from her helpers on this occasion.

She also received three call outs on Sunday, two of them for scrub pythons with one removed from a road.

PLEASE NOTE: This story was also published in print and online in Townsville Bulletin, and online in Herald Sun and Courier Mail. This snake tale has been my most widely published story written for Herbert River Express.

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