A venomous snake that dared enter a home in Queensland, Australia, learned a tough lesson when it encountered an older woman and her vacuum cleaner.
Video shared on social media shows the red-bellied black snake ended up trapped inside the machine, endlessly circling in search of a way out.
To get it out, she called Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7, which referred to the situation as “a bit of a strange one.” The service is based in South East Queensland and makes it a point to save snakes, including the venomous types.
“Obviously, we don’t recommend doing this. Apparently the snake is still moving around and hopefully, it’s going to be fine,” Sunshine Coast owner Stuart McKenzie explained in the video.
“The lady did panic. ... She’s sucked it up with the vacuum because she wasn’t sure what to do and how to keep it from moving. ... And now it’s just cruising around inside the vacuum.”
To her credit, the woman quickly turned it off and hauled the contraption outside. McKenzie arrived to find the snake coiled in the dust collector, where it kept poking its nose against the plastic.
Details of where the woman found the snake were not revealed. However, it likely got in through their garage, according to the video.
Red-bellied black snakes have a venom that is seldom fatal but does result in “bleeding and/or swelling at the bite site, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, sweating, local or general muscle pain and weakness, and red-brown urine,” according to the Australian Museum.
The snake in the vacuum cleaner was estimated to be 4 to 8 weeks old and had “traveled a fair distance” to reach the property, McKenzie says. “There’s no mom around looking for it,” he assured the family.
To remove the snake, McKenzie simply pulled off the dust collector and emptied the snake into a bag as one might empty excess dust.
“He seems fine,” McKenzie says, holding the snake by its tail. “Probably just a bit shaken up from his little roller coaster.”
Snakes captured by Sunshine Coast are released unharmed, and the video shows the red-bellied black snake was last seen slithering away under a pile of leaves in a wilderness area.
Hundreds of people have reacted to the post on social media, including some who joked vacuuming in Australia is risky business. Some commenters saw the vacuum cleaner an ingenious solution, while others viewed it as cruel.
“If they feel they need to protect a human or a pet, someone may act on adrenaline. I wouldn’t judge so harshly myself,” Lynn Nesi Siemens posted on Facebook.
“That so-called ‘baby’ had the potential to send the occupants to the grave,” Gidget Hrobowski wrote.