Australian man finds huge red-bellied black snake, names it 'Chonk'

A man holds a red bellied snake in Belmont, Queensland, Australia September 24, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media on September 25, 2019. Snake Catchers Brisbane, Ipswich/via REUTERS

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An Australian snake catcher was called to a rifle shooting range on the outskirts of the northern city of Brisbane on Wednesday to capture a huge red-bellied black snake, which he named “Chonk” for its healthy condition.

The 1.8-metre (6-ft) -long male reptile was probably hunting for suitable mates as the breeding season began, snake catcher Bryce Lockett told Reuters, after it slithered out of a large creek system where fish and frogs would have kept it well-fed.

It was common to find snakes during the breeding season as males traveled further to find a mate, though snakes of this size were rare, Lockett said.

“Every now and again they pop up,” he added. “I named him ‘Chonk’ just because he was very fat and healthy.”

Red-bellied black snakes, common in wetlands along Australia’s eastern coasts, are some of the most handsome but least venomous of its reptiles, with no recorded fatalities.

They typically grow to about 1.5 m to 2 m (5 ft to 7 ft), according to the Australian Museum, which said the largest on record was 2.55 m (8.4 ft).

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Clarence Fernandez