Toilet snakes on the rise across Australia as relentless rains wreak havoc

Some areas have received two months of rainfall over the last three days

Stuti Mishra
Wednesday 03 January 2024 15:47 GMT
Related video: Australian wildlife catcher confronted by huge snake and giant spider in same bedroom

People in Australia’s eastern states are spotting snakes in their toilets after heavy rains triggered flash flooding across large parts of the country.

Several regions across southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales have seen floodwaters inundating roads, cutting off towns and damaging properties, as authorities advised residents in low-lying areas to move to higher ground.

Photos and videos circulating on social media show snakes and other wildlife navigating through stagnant floodwaters in urban areas.

One video shows a deadly snake interrupting the tennis match between Dominic Thiem and James McCabe on 30 December. Other videos on TikTok and in local media show snakes spotted in toilet cubicles and bowls.

Wildlife rescuer Tennille Bankes, who was recently called out to Goondiwindi near the New South Wales border to retrieve a black snake from inside a public toilet, told Yahoo News Australia the “wild weather” during Christmas and New Year is likely one of the reasons behind the phenomenon.

Ms Bankes said an increase in the frequency of so-called “toilet snake” callouts was likely due to the heat, as the snakes seek water sources in their surroundings.

“The issue is the heat. They’re going wherever they can for the water,” she told the outlet.

“The seasons now are incredibly crazy. We’ve got a lot of heat at the moment and flooding, so climate change is a real thing,” she said.

Last month, crocodiles were spotted on roads in Queensland after a storm system flooded the area, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes or cling to rooftops awaiting rescue.

This week many areas have picked up at least two months’ worth of rainfall over the last three days. Springbrook in Queensland received 514mm of rain over the last 48 hours, more than double the January average.

The forecast shows more rain is likely to fall over the next 24 hours.

Queensland deputy premier Cameron Dick urged people to stay off the roads until the weather cleared.

“Roads will be dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding could occur in places you don’t anticipate,” Mr Dick said during a press briefing.

Rescue operations have been ongoing in several areas of Queensland and neighbouring New South Wales, where dozens of people were rescued from a crowded campsite, which was cut off by floodwaters.

Videos showed trees knocked down, roads blocked and rescuers wading through waist-high water to reach homes.

Snake seen stuck in toilet
Snake seen stuck in toilet (Screengrab/Yahoo News)

Authorities are warning people to remain cautious for the next 24 hours.

“With these quick bursts of intense rainfall, the rivers and creeks are rising extremely quickly and catching people unaware,” Queensland emergency services deputy commissioner Kevin Walsh said. “The next 24 hours are important.”

Australia has been frequently hit by storm systems this summer as climate crisis continues to amplify weather extremes, with the El Nino phenomenon providing more heat and increasing the risk of wildfires.

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