I’m standing somewhat warily on the front porch of a wooden shack in Darwin, capital of Australia’s torrid Northern Territory. Before me is 23-year-old Chris Peberdy, Darwin’s official snake catcher, and he’s not alone.
The 7ft king brown snake he’s holding up is writhing like a fireman’s hose, doubling back on itself in medusan contortions as it tries with all its might to bite its way out of trouble. Although a single nip from this creature contains enough venom to kill about 125,000 mice, 20 horses and any number of overconfident herpetologists, Chris seems unperturbed.
“Nineteen of the last 26 people to die from snakebite in Oz were bitten by these fellas,” he notes, and steps smartly backwards as the snake lunges for his throat. “Steve Irwin was a great man — really loved his snakes — but he taught a generation of Aussies a lot of bad habits.”
Read the rest of Chris Haslam’s London Times article here.