Snake found in playground sparks call for better education
THE discovery of a highly venomous snake in a playground has sparked calls for students to be better educated about what to do if they find one.
Kim Everson, the director of Mooloolah Little Munchkins, found a rough-scaled snake hiding in a sand pit cover during her morning grounds check last week.
While Ms Everson didn't know how venomous the snake was, her immediate thought was to keep the children away.
"It's the first snake I've come across at the centre, it's one of my biggest fears,'' she said.
"I didn't take much notice of the colouring or stripes but I got straight on the phone to Richie (Gilbert) the snake catcher to come and get it."
He arrived to return the snake to the wild and confirmed just how dangerous it was.
"You really don't want to get bitten by one of these," Mr Gilbert said.
Luckily Ms Everson found the snake and followed the centre's snake action plan, but it's not the first snake that has been found at a child care centre in the last month.
Last week Mr Gilbert was called out to a Buderim centre to remove a python, an instance he said was not all that uncommon.
"Not sure what it is about child care centres and snakes but it's a weekly occurrence for me," he said in a post on Facebook.
However he said the findings were a chance to educate children about snake safety.
"I love to share our beautiful, misunderstood wildlife with young children before they start developing the typical Aussie attitude 'a good snake is a dead snake'," Mr Gilbert said.
Ms Everson agreed and stressed the importance of children being snake-aware, especially for families in rural areas.
"Depending on the area, yes snake awareness needs to be taught," she said.
"It's important on the Coast. I try to educate my own children as well as the kids at the centre.''
Ms Everson said the children not only enjoyed learning about snakes, it made them aware of what to do if they found one.
For a number of years snake expert Jill Zimmerman has been trying to get snake education taught in schools.
She belives better education would prevent unnecessary killing of snakes along with increased safety for children living in areas prone to them.
"It's important that children know what to do when they see a snake," she said.
"It's heartbreaking to see people trying to kill snakes so I'm all for education in any way possible."
A Queensland Education spokesman said it was up to individual schools whether they wanted snake education for students however schools had trained first aid personnel on staff in the event of an incident.
If you need a snake catcher Richie Gilbert can be contacted on 0409 536 000.