Here’s a picture to send shudders through every schoolteacher on the east coast of Australia:
A child digging in the sandpit at a school near the NSW mid-north coast town of Laurieton found 12 eggs, and alerted staff. Staff alerted FAWNA NSW, who initially identified the eggs as belonging to one of Australia’s deadliest creatures – the eastern brown snake.
Worse, it wasn’t just one nest. When the volunteers had finished digging – three days later – they had uncovered seven nests and 43 eggs in total.
And yes, even inch-long baby brown snakes can be dangerous, although not as dangerous as an adult snake.
FAWNA staff member Yvette Attleir said a child who was bitten would definitely have to be taken straight to hospital. But comments on FAWNA’s Facebook page suggested staff take a closer look to ensure they weren’t actually water dragon eggs.
“I believed they were brown snake eggs due to the fact that they were seen in the area and that when I shone a light through the egg I saw a small striped baby snake,” FAWNA rescuer Rod Miller told The Guardian.
A snake expert confirmed to The Guardian that the eggs were “definitely snake eggs”, but couldn’t confirm which species they belonged to.
The eggs were likely within two weeks of hatching, Attleir said, but she allayed fears of a snake infestation, adding the nests could also have all belonged to a single snake.
The sandpit had just been built, and the loose sand may also have helped it look particularly attractive to the pregnant mother. It also backs onto a reserve.
The eggs were removed safely to an “unspecified” location. And earlier today, FAWNA updated its Facebook post to say all but one of the eggs had hatched.
“The undeveloped egg contained a small undeveloped foetus which looked like a small pink worm with a couple of eyes and had no limbs or sign of them.”
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