'Fluffy' Won't Leave Her Car, So Woman Just Drives With It

'Fluffy' being a poisonous red-bellied black snake that 4 separate snake handlers can't remove
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2024 6:42 AM CDT
Updated May 18, 2024 6:00 AM CDT
'Fluffy' Won't Leave Her Car, So Woman Just Drives With It
A red-bellied black snake.   (Getty Images/Jonathan Steinbeck)

A venomous snake that Lisa Kournelis believes has been living in her SUV since March apparently has no intention of leaving—and so the Aussie woman now simply throws on protective gear and drives around with it. Kournelis tells ABC Australia she thinks a red-bellied black snake snuck into her vehicle when she left one of its doors open at a construction worksite for her job near Newcastle, though she didn't initially spot the slithery reptile until last month. "I was putting a box in my car and it was sitting on the back seat," she notes.

Kournelis estimates the snake had been holed up in her vehicle for about three weeks before that, as there was ample snake poo scattered about. She says she commissioned four separate snake handlers to get the snake out for her, but they all failed in their efforts—and so now, Kournelis simply suits up in wool pants and other protective garb and hopes for the best on her drives around town. "If it does bite, these [wool] work pants that I wear will take most of the venom," she shrugs. The Australian Museum notes that the red-bellied black snake is a "shy" one that only bites when seriously provoked, and that "despite the number of bites received every year, very few human deaths have resulted."

Snake wrangler Matt Stopford tells ABC that snakes hiding out in cars isn't common, and that if one does happen to sneak in, it might be necessary to tear out the seats and dashboard to retrieve it. Brandon Gifford of Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 tells Yahoo News Australia that, to keep snakes at bay, people should keep their properties "neat and tidy," as well as make sure they don't leave their garage doors open at this time of year, when it's starting to get cooler and snakes start seeking out places to hibernate. Stopford tells ABC that the snake in Kournelis' car should be removed ASAP, before this "brumation" period of dormancy. "He will want to stay in the car because it's a nice hiding spot to get warm," Stopford notes. "It's going to go off its food and probably settle in." (More snakes stories.)

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