WARNING: This household item may be a snake hotspot
IT'S a common garden fixture in many homes helping the environment and reducing household waste. It's also a popular hangout for nesting snakes.
You may want to check your compost bin - it's a favourite hangout for a number of snakes, particularly carpet pythons, during breeding season.
The high humidity and steady, steamy temperatures are perfect for incubating eggs and the often hard-to-enter bins mean the snake and its eggs are safe and sound at the bottom of your bin.
Sunshine Coast Snakes Catchers 24/7 manager Lockie Gilding was called to a Mount Coolum home recently for just that, after a family had found a carpet python happily working on hatching its own young family, so they called him in to relocate their random reptile.
"Yeah we do see a bit of it," Mr Gilding said.
He said there was potential for other egg-laying species to use compost bins as their own makeshift incubators, but he'd only seen coastal carpet pythons do this.
"Temperature and humidity is extremely important for eggs," Mr Gilding said.
"A compost bin is the absolute best thing they could wish for."
He said the compost bins also provided a safe environment for the docile pythons at a time when they weren't eating, focused solely on basking in the sun and taking care of their eggs.
"They're quite a placid species the carpet python, especially at this time of year when they're breeding," Mr Gilding said.
He said a carpet python in the compost bin wasn't something to be alarmed about and the fact they weren't in feeding mode meant household pets were usually safer during the python's breeding period.
He said most people, once they understood what was happening, were quite happy to leave the python as it was and enjoy watching nature take its course.
Most pythons using compost bins for breeding will bask in the sun at the same time each day before making their way back to their eggs and the juvenile snakes then disperse once they hatch.
And if you'd rather not have a python in your compost, Mr Gilding said the key was to keep the compost bin closed up, as most pythons forced their way in through the front flap of the bin if left open.