Sean Cade was looking forward to a night on the lounge when he got a frantic call from a family about 8.30pm on Wednesday.
Mr Cade, a snake-catcher, was told a black snake had tucked itself away in a Plumpton garage in western Sydney.
He told the family to sit tight and made for his ute. Before he even got behind the wheel his phone rang again.
This time a brown snake had been attacked by a dog in the backyard of a St Clair home.
“I’m tired, it’s been non-stop,” he said. “We’re getting up to eight or 10 calls a day.”
Mr Cade said the start of this year’s snake season had been so busy he’s considered quitting his day job.
But there hasn’t been a breeding frenzy, he said, only a significant displacement of snakes in western Sydney.
“It’s not that there’s more snakes – it’s just that there’s less habitat for them and more people living in those spaces.”
The man who founded Australian Snake Catchers was adamant that rapid development in Sydney’s west was driving snakes onto the street.
Where once there was a grassy field with plentiful hiding holes, hundreds of houses, shops and roads now dominate the landscape.
He said suburbs including Jordan Springs, Glenmore Park, Werrington, Ropes Crossing, Plumpton and Mount Druitt were among the most common call-out spots. But he often travels much further afield.
He said more attention needed to be paid to the environmental impacts of Sydney’s expansion.
“With the constant development, and the scale of it, these snakes have been displaced for a long period of time.
“It’s not just a piece of land that developers are smashing. It’s a sad state of affairs.”
It’s a problem he wants to fix.
He’s looking at buying a piece of land where he can house the “homeless” reptiles he rescues.
“Five years ago I could have gone two kilometres in any direction and found bush. Now it’s just houses.
“I’m hoping to lobby the government to work something out.”