Frogs, snakes, mice, spiders, crocodiles and likely other reptiles and amphibians are now too close for human comfort in Queensland, Australia, where recent severe floods transported these creatures in and around homes, according to reports in The Australian and other sources there.
(Crocodile; Credit: Wallyir)
Residents of affected areas have been battling the floods for days now, with the problem impacting an area bigger than France and Germany combined.
Barry Moessinger, who has lived in the low-lying Rockhampton suburb of Depot Hill for more than 50 years, told The Australian that he's been seeing up to 15 snakes a day over the past week.
"There's heaps of them," Moessinger said. "We've had a plague of mice, a lot of frogs and so we knew the snakes would come."
When these animals wash around or in structures, they tend to seek hiding places, which may be in a closet, under a bed, or other spots that could lead to disaster when the unknowing homeowner returns and encounters the frightened animal victim that may then lash out.
Spiders do something similar, and Australia certainly has no shortage of poisonous arachnids.
Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter has warned that the flood waters also contained crocodiles.
"There is the risk that we have a number of crocodiles that live in the Fitzroy River," he said. "We do not think they are a risk to public safety if people keep out of the waters but if people do enter the waters, their safety cannot be guaranteed."
Animals aren't even the only present threats in Queensland now due to the flooding. Authorities have been particularly concerned about pregnant women. At least twelve pregnant women in the area were evacuated. Another 20 or so pregnant women from outlying regions were also evacuated.
Additional people seeking medical care are having trouble getting to their doctors and hospitals, so the state medical director, Mark Elcock, has dispatched helicopters and planes. Over the past week, at least 91 patients have been airlifted out of the hardest hit flood areas.
Floods in Queensland are expected and seasonal, but these have been the worst there in decades. Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard continues to offer emergency support, by sending out rescue crews and providing money to those who need it. Hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency grants have already gone to residents. Concern remains, however, over how the Southern Hemisphere country can fully recover from its economic losses.
Some snakes appear to be the only ones benefitting from the natural disaster.
The New York Times reports that dozens of snakes have taken over the backyard beer garden of the Fitzroy Hotel Pub in Rockhampton.
Owner Tony Higgins said, “I reckon the snakes are using it as a lap pool to get ready for the next stage of their journey."
He added, "You wouldn’t know what’s in the water, you really wouldn’t know. It’s a bad place to be.”