ORIENTATION Week got off to a scary start for CQUniversity Gladstone education lecturers when an angry brown snake slithered into Training Room 4, or the "Palace'', in the Leo Zussino Building.
Education lecturer Dr Ali Black and a colleague were in the lecture theatre ready to welcome new students for their first taste of university life when the snake slid into the room, with CQUniversity facilities co-ordinator Dennis Simon in hot pursuit.
"Dennis (Mr Simon) was really calm and had a bag and a stick or something to get it in the bag,'' Dr Black said.
"We weren't so calm - and jumped up on the table while he dealt with the snake.
"I don't think there was any screaming, but we were quite keen for him to get it out of there. We had a bit of a laugh - but after he had taken it away.
"I've seen quite a few snakes on the campus in the five years I have been here.''
The university has now turned to the latest technology to rid the Gladstone campus of slithering sightseers.
Located at the Gladstone Marina, the CQU buildings and grounds have been hotspots for unwanted reptiles for years.
Mr Simon has had to remove a number of snakes from lecture theatres, offices and even printers - and once from the top of the counter in the reception area of the Martin Hanson building.
I don't think there was any screaming, but we were quite keen for him to get it out of there. We had a bit of a laugh - but after he had taken it away
He recently installed 12 solar-powered electronic snake repellers (Sentinel Q Snake Repellers) to curb the influx - and it seems to be working.
"I think they come in from the mangroves at the marina," he said.
"They are probably looking for a dry area and they seem to enjoy the spaces and gaps around and under the buildings for a bit of shelter."
Mr Simon said the CQU Mackay campus was close to cane fields and they had been having a snake problem for years, so had tried a couple of different types of repellers.
"These new ones seem to be working up there, so it was decided we should try them in Gladstone," he said.
"You can't say positively that they are scaring snakes away, but we haven't had any since I installed them.
"Staff seem to think it is definitely worth it, giving them a try.
"This new type puts an intermittent pulse into the ground. You can feel it, and that is supposed to work for the surrounding 40m, and it also gives off infra-red light."
Mr Simon said he had had to move several pythons and had even seen a deadly eastern brown.
"The ladies at reception opened up one morning and there was this snake up on the counter. They got a terrific fright," he said.
"It was only a small snake but they are happy about the new repellers.
"We've only had them in a relatively short time, but we haven't had a snake since.
"I put them in the ground and then that's it. They work continuously and are completely solar powered.
"We will continue to monitor them and see how they go in the longer term - it has to be worth a go."
For now staff and students are happy to go along with the new snake repellers.
No need for any snake oil measures at CQUniversity - it is up with the latest technology.
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