Wild snake moment captured near Aussie beach sparks warning: 'Very unusual'

The snake catcher said even he is still trying to wrap his head around it.

The field (left) and snake fighting (middle and right).
The two snakes were spotted fighting in a field in Kiama, on the NSW South Coast. Source: Facebook

Aussies are being urged to remain “alert and vigilant” after a “rare” sighting south of Sydney. A snake expert has described a dramatic video in which two red-bellied black snakes can be see fighting on a grassy beach-side battle field as "very unusual".

The video taken in Kiama, on the NSW South Coast, shows the two snakes intertwined in a fierce encounter well after their usual period of activity — which usually occurs in the warmer months — has come to an end. “That is very unusual and a little bit rare to see this behaviour at this time of year,” Ray McGibbon from Southern Highlands Snake Catchers told Yahoo News.

“It’s not unheard of and it has been witnessed before, but it is very interesting and very unusual to get it on camera.”

The snake catcher, who’s been on the job for 38 years, said it was a timely reminder for Aussies to be aware that snakes could always be in the area, even when they’re meant to be hiding during the colder months.

“Like any time of year, when you're walking in certain areas where you may have a snake encounter, just be alert,” he said.

The fluctuating weather NSW has been having lately could be blamed for the unseasonable reptile action.

“When we get that nice winter’s day and it feels like spring, it sort of flicks the animals into gear thinking, ‘Oh, it’s mating time again’, and sometimes certain species will show signs of mating or courtship,” McGibbon explained, “or even combating characteristics”.

Which is exactly what was happening in this instance, the snake catcher believes.

“It is two males combatting,” he said, referring to the video clip of the two red-bellies, which are one of Australia’s most venomous snakes.

Three stills from a video of the intertwined snakes fighting.
The snakes were filmed locked in a fierce battle. Source: Facebook

McGibbon added he thinks the pair were likely trying to win over a female in the area.

“What happens in the summer or springtime is, if there’s a female showing signs of being ready to mate, then the two males will come together and they’ll fight to be the dominant male in the area,” he said.

“So it’s unusual behaviour for this time of year. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it as well.”

Not exactly, but they will go wait out the colder weather. “It’s a form of hibernation called brumation,” McGibbon explained.

“So if you get a lukewarm during winter, they will come out from wherever they’re hiding, they’ll get a nice blast of sun for about an hour or two, and then they’ll got hide again.

“They won't be feeding, because there's not enough heat to digest their food and they don’t want their food to rot in their gut, but they will be out there sunbaking.”

Then a week or two later, when the next warm day rolls around, they’ll creep out from their hiding spots again. This process will repeat until spring. “I do come across it quite often during the winter time whereby someone’s doing yard work or cleaning up and they come across a snake curled up,” McGibbon added.

A red-bellied black snake on the ground.
Snake catcher Ray McGibbon said red-bellied black snakes are about the 15th most venomous in Australia. Source: Australian Museum

Definitely don’t go anywhere near it, according to McGibbon. “You don’t touch them, you don’t interact with them, you leave them alone,” he said.

“For the sake of your health, your family members health or your pet’s health, just leave them be and call a licensed snake catcher in your area and let them deal with it.”

And whatever you do, do not think you can trap it yourself.

“We’re trained professionals and know how to understand the behaviour of these animals,” the snake catcher added. “We understand their movements. We understand everything about them. Yes, we’re not prone from being bitten, but we can avoid it.”

But most importantly, McGibbon doesn’t want people to be afraid of these “misunderstood creatures”. “There’s no need to fear them,” he said, adding that “education is the key”. “It’s all about understanding and knowing how to behave accordingly when you have an encounter with a snake.”

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.