SNAKES ALIVE: Lilli Pilli pre-schoolers with teacher Danni Roland look out over their hopefully snake-free playground.
SNAKES ALIVE: Lilli Pilli pre-schoolers with teacher Danni Roland look out over their hopefully snake-free playground. Christian Morrow

Fangs for keeping us safe

IN THE run up to Easter, things at Lilli Pilli Pre-School in Brunswick Heads got more than a little biblical, with a plague of snakes and then a mini-miracle saving the day.

The discovery of a clutch of baby brown snakes in the pre-school's playground at the end of March, kept the children indoors for safety's sake for the past two weeks.

"It sent a shiver of fear through the parents and staff," said pre-school director Francis Dyett.

"It was a dire situation; we learned that baby browns are more deadly than the adults because they cannot control the amount of venom they inject."

Ms Dyett contacted Byron Shire Council, The Department of Education and the National Parks and Wildlife Service for help, to no avail.

But local volunteer wildlife rescue organisation WIRES did step in.

WIRES, together with dedicated parents, staged a monster garden clean-up and snake blitz, bagging a total of 13 of the deadly little reptiles.

They were safely re-located and a parent volunteer began construction of a snake-proof fence around the play area.

Ms Dyett's dog Badger was also drafted in as official snake watch dog.

By last weekend the fence had cost $800 and Ms Dyett was wondering where the money was going to come from to pay for materials.

Then out of the blue the pre-school won first prize in the Most Creative Egg competition at this week's Byron Farmers' Market.

First prize was $1000, just enough to finish the fence so the children can return to a snake-free playground when the school re-opens after the holidays.

"We are so grateful to WIRES, they were the only organisation that came to our aid," said Ms Dyett.

"And we really want to thank the Byron Farmers' Market for... their competition," she said.


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