A toddler has incubated a nest of one of the world's most deadly species of snake - in his bedroom wardrobe. Kyle Cumming, 3, of Townsville, Queensland, Australia, found the snake eggs several weeks ago while playing in his backyard and put them in his wardrobe. On Monday, the boy's mother discovered seven squirming baby snakes inside a takeaway container she had given him after he found the eggs. Eastern brown snakes are second only to the inland taipan as the most venomous snakes on Earth, and are responsible for most lethal snake bites in Australia.
Queensland Museum information officer and snake expert Steve Wilson said despite the age of the snakes, if Kyle had been bitten the result could have been deadly. "Any venomous snake, as soon as it hatches, has all the apparatus to deliver venom because the first thing they have to do is catch and kill prey - it's a perfect replica of an adult snake," he said. "Brown snakes are highly venomous and a baby brown could potentially kill or at least seriously harm a human being - adult or child.
"If he had played around with them, which a little boy would, there's a chance they would have bitten him and there's a real chance that he may have been very seriously harmed or killed by them." Mr Wilson urged the need to instil in children that snakes of any sort are never to be touched."You've got to impress on children to steer clear of any handling of any snakes or snake-like animals, not necessarily to be feared but always treated with a great deal of caution," he said. "For a little kid scooping them out, he's either very lucky that when he picked them up he kept them the right way up or he got them very early in their development when it wasn't too critical."
Kyle's mother Donna Sim said she did not think any more of the eggs until she found the container full of hatchlings. "I was pretty shocked, particularly because I don't like snakes," Ms Sim said. But Ms Sim's discovery could have saved the animals' lives, as if they had remained forgotten in the wardrobe they would have died. "If they hadn't been found they would have been doomed - doomed and entombed," Mr Wilson said. Ms Sim and her son took the container to nearby Billabong sanctuary, where wildlife rangers released the reptiles into the wild.