Family rapt in reptiles
Snakes are all in a night’s work for Jessica and her Dad
IT could wrap around her body several times, but little Jessica Bingley isn’t scared of a threemetre python.
Like her Dad, she wants to be a snake catcher when she grows up.
Jessica’s father Richard has been collecting snakes from Townsville yards for the past 12 months.
But he got way more than he bargained for when he got a phone call from a man to collect a snake in Rosslea.
‘‘He said it was a big python. Usually when they say it’s big you take their measurement and halve it,’’ Mr Bingley said.
He was more than a little surprised to find a three-metre carpet python, which was double the size he would usually collect from a suburban yard.
‘‘Usually pythons around these parts are one metre to a metre and a half. This one’s a beauty,’’ he said.
‘‘I took it to the vet and judging from the size it must be about 12 to 15 years old.
‘‘Usually they grow larger in captivity. I’ve got one about the same size and he’s 10.’’
Mr Bingley said the coastal carpet python was infested with ticks and lice, so he took it to his Rasmussen home to care for it until it could be released into the wild.
The python is recovering, but is still underweight.
Mr Bingley said most snakes found around suburbia were not venomous.
He said local snake catchers would capture at least one snake a day during the peak of summer from November to March.
Mr Bingley said green tree snakes, brown tree snakes, keelback snakes, carpet pythons, spotted pythons, eastern brown snakes, black whip snakes and taipans were the most common in North Queensland.
Mr Bingley convinced his wife to allow him to get his first pet snake last year.
Now the family has 18snakes and 13 babies.
Mr Bingley admitted he didn’t love snakes when he first came in contact with them.
‘‘We lived on a farm and my parents used to hit them with a shovel. I learnt how to pick them up and move them, because there wasn’t always a shovel around,’’ he said.
But Mr Bingley said that was exactly the kind of mentality he wants to educate against.
And little Jessica is helping him do it.
‘‘I take her along on jobs with me, she loves it, she wants to be a snake catcher when she grows up,’’ he said.
‘‘She’s got a snake of her own, a children’s python, and a couple of lizards.’’
Jessica’s pet python is named Crikey, in honour of the late Steve Irwin.
‘‘Snakes aren’t scary, but you shouldn’t touch them because they are not all pets,’’ five-year-old Jessica said.
She said people should call a snake catcher like her dad if they find a snake in their garden.
‘‘If you see a snake in your garden, tell your mum and dad and they can get a snake catcher like my dad to get it,’’ Jessica said.
‘‘He is very careful and has all the right equipment.
‘‘I go with him at night-time because he needs someone to hold the torch.’’ Mr Bingley has this advice. ‘‘If you find a snake in your yard, keep pets and children away. Leave it alone, and it will go away,’’ he said.
‘‘If it’s inside a shed or house, call a snake removalist.
‘‘A snake will only bite threatened.’’
To have a snake removed call NQ Wildlife Carers on 0414 717 374, national parks on 1300 130372 (24 hours) or the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
PET HOBBY . . . Jessica Bingley with a pet carpet python and Dad Richard with an adult