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Australian drivers are pretty well acquainted with the startlement of finding spiders tagging along for a car ride, but Ted Ogier from the state of New South Wales got something even more dramatic just the other day.
He was running a delivery for his employer on Wednesday when he noticed a red-bellied black snake tagging along for the trip.
The startled serpent had probably been snuggled up to the engine for warmth on a chilly night, and slithered out from under the hood of the pick-up truck to wrap around the driver’s side mirror.
“It’d come out from under the engine bay under the bonnet, it was probably a bit warm there,” Ogier told the ABC.
“It was sort of tapping on the window a couple of times, because it obviously wanted to get in.”
The red-bellied black snake, Pseudechis porphyriacus, is, as the name suggests, a black snake with a brilliantly coloured red belly.
It’s common along the east coast of the Australian continent, and although it’s venomous, the bite is rarely fatal – although 117 bites were recorded between 2005 and 2015, none of them ended in death.
In addition, it’s usually quite shy and prefers to flee from humans rather than attack, and will only bite under severe provocation.
But that doesn’t mean you’d want to go head-to-head with one – the bite of a red-bellied black snake causes bleeding and swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, abdominal pain and muscle weakness.
To help with the wayward serpent, Ogier called his colleague Kai Pearse from Nolans Auto Parts in Eden on the south coast of NSW. Together, the pair managed to dislodge the snake with a broom, and chivvy it into the bush by the side of the road.
It turned out to be less of an ordeal than that koala found clinging to the axle of a four-wheel-drive, the removal of which required the assistance of wildlife experts. And Ogier told the ABC that he can imagine worse passengers.
“Not as frightening as getting a spider on the inside – spiders are one thing I don’t like, but I don’t like snakes either,” he said.
If you need help removing a snake from your house or vehicle, the Australian government recommends you call a licensed local herpetologist. Your local council should be able to help you find one in your area.