Why this photo sparked snake debate
A TOWNSVILLE man has sparked a serious debate over his handling of a potential deadly snake.
Social media is abuzz with discussion after local men Alex Bowden and Wyatt McDonald posted a photo of Mr McDonald wrangling a snake.
"Just wondering what kind of snake this is?" Mr Bowden asked local social media group Townsville Snake Catchers.
One member of the group responded by saying: "One that should be left alone. And people wonder why they get bitten."
Another answered: "If you don't know ... why are you touching it?"
A licenced snake identifier finally informed the men it was a brown tree snake, which is mildly venomous.
The way Mr McDonald handled the snake was defended by one expert, who said he'd picked up snakes before not knowing what they were.
"I've just treated it as venomous until I knew.
"He is handling it OK for an unknown snake."
The issue of handling snakes in Townsville became a hot topic after the tragic death of 46-year-old scaffolder Aaron Bryant in April.
Mr Bryant had spotted a 1.2m snake in his laundry and was trying to remove it from the house before his two dogs got to it when the snake turned and bit him on the hand as he tried to pick it up.
Mr Bryant's long-term partner Cindy Lucas dialled triple-0 as Mr Bryant tried, with the help of neighbours, to identify the snake.
At the time of its release, co-author Dr Ronelle Welton, from the University of Melbourne's Australian Venom Research Unit, said one-fifth of fatalities occurred when people tried to pick up the snakes.
"People should not attempt to pick up snakes, and need to be encouraged to practice appropriate first aid and know CPR," she told SBS.
Townsville Snake Take Away's Jamie Chapel also took to Facebook to urge people to be careful around the reptiles.
"If you're ever bitten by a snake or suspect you have been, never wait, call an ambulance and never try to kill the snake, it's not worth losing yours or someone else's life over," he wrote.
"No snake is ever harmless, it's either venomous or non-venomous and any snake that feels threatened will bite in defence, do not take the chance, call a snake catcher."