As three-year-old Kyle Cumming slept peacefully in his Queensland home, a clutch of wild eggs he had discovered in his backyard were incubating in his wardrobe.
This week his mother opened the door to find seven deadly snakes inside. The eastern browns had hatched from the eggs which Kyle had placed in a plastic container several weeks earlier. Fortunately, he had closed the lid tightly and the snakes – which could have killed him – were not yet large enough to push it open.
After Kyle's mother, Donna Sim, recovered from the shock she took them to a wildlife sanctuary near their home in Townsville. She was told Kyle was "extremely lucky" she had found the snakes first, "otherwise he might not be with us today".
Eastern browns, found across eastern Australia, are the world's most venomous land snake after the inland taipan, another native species. They are responsible for most of the three deaths a year in Australia from snake bites. Although the babies were only about six inches long – adults can reach 6.5ft – they were already highly venomous.