By Tui Benjamin
Shocked beachgoers were forced to flee after a sunbather discovered a potentially-lethal metre-long snake under the TOWEL she was lying on.
Sisters Lisa Houlihan, 31, and Nicki Rocca, 20, were at Hamersley Pool in North Beach, Perth, Australia on Sunday (Nov 12) when they filmed the terrifying spectacle.
Crowds watched as the serpent, believed to be a dangerous Dugite snake, slithered away after a brave member of the public lifted the towel up.
The Dugite, which is native to Western Australia, is considered extremely dangerous to humans because of its size and highly toxic venom.
Married mum-of-one Lisa, a childcare educator, said: “We were just sitting there on the beach and suddenly it came sliding along past everyone and then ended up under a lady’s towel.
“We all jumped up and headed to the car park. Eventually a guy went over and lifted the towel up. The snake stayed there for a while and eventually it took off.
“We live in Australia, so there are always going to be snakes around. But you don’t really expect to see one on the beach like that.
“I don’t think I’d have any issues with going back there again but my son was out snorkeling when it happened and he was a bit freaked out by it all.”
Lisa estimated there were about 20 people, half of them children, at the secluded beach on Sunday morning when the snake was spotted at 11am.
The reason why she likes to take her son there is because a nearby reef means conditions are calm and it is unlikely a dangerous shark would ever make an appearance.
Figures suggest dugite snakes are responsible for 70 per cent of all snake bites treated in hospitals in Perth, but there has only been one recorded fatality.
Nicki, who is also a childcare educator, said the dramatic sighting would not put her off returning to her favourite beach.
She added: “All of a sudden we heard this lady scream – the snake had been slithering along and it somehow got underneath her towel.
“I was a bit shocked as I hadn’t ever seen a snake in the wild like that before. It’s a deadly snake so I was scared for the man moving the towel, but he did it at his own risk.
“It wouldn’t put me off going to that beach, I love the beach and there are probably snakes wherever you are.”
Ian Hunter, the City of Stirling’s parks and sustainability manager, said snake sightings at Perth’s beaches are common – especially during spring and summer.
He said: “Natural areas such as coastal dunes, bushland and wetlands form part of the natural habitat for snakes.
“The occasional movement by snakes into adjacent areas that are used by the public is not unusual.”