Sandpits. Kids love them. Cats pee in them.
And snakes lay their eggs in them, as a team of wildlife rescuers recently discovered.
And not just in any sandpit. Oh no. In a New South Wales primary school sandpit.
The St Josephs Catholic primary school sandpit, which usually houses hordes of students, became the perfect nesting ground for several snakes over the school holidays.
Fawna wildlife rescue group in Laurieton NSW, got the call to come and inspect the sandpit on 20 December 2017, just days after the school closed for the year.
The wildlife team discovered SEVEN different snake nests, hosting a total of 43 eggs. The team have since removed and relocated all of the eggs, due to hatch in about two weeks.
Snakes in your sandpit
The sandpit in the coastal town’s Catholic school backs onto a reserve with a creek. This is where experts believe the snakes came from.
Rescuer Yvette Attleir explains, “They obviously saw the sandpit and thought that will do nicely – the sand regulates the temperature perfectly for them.”
Just in case you weren’t already shivering at the thought, it is widely reported that the snake eggs belong to the eastern brown snake, one of Australia’s most deadliest snakes.
“We were told was there were a couple of sightings of large brown snakes behind the area and all we could surmise is that they were brown snake eggs.”
However, experts have since confirmed it’s hard to determine the species until the slitherers have hatched. Which, thankfully, will not be in the school’s sandpit.
Snake Vs Lizard
Other experts insist the eggs aren’t snakes at all, but more likely to be lizard eggs.
“I can say with a high degree of certainly the eggs look like a water dragon lizard eggs,” Australian Reptile Park general manager Tim Faulkner told The Daily Telegraph. He was speaking the day after news of the sandpit find made headlines around the country.
But volunteers still insist the eggs belong to a snake. “Due to the fact of all of the controversy I went back and checked on the nest and found that all but one of the eggs had hatched,” says a statement from FAWNA, on January 3.
“The remaining egg contained a small pink wormlike embryo with two eyes and no sign of legs. It may or may not have been a snake but the good news is that all animals have been released and living in the wild.”
Snakes on the rise
Have a look at our snake bite survival guide on what to do if your child is bitten by a snake.