While filling up their car at a gas station, a customer in Nuriootpa, South Australia, noticed a deadly eastern brown snake slithering outside the station store.

By the time the staff was notified, the snake had made its way inside.

Snake catcher Dan Marshall, of Barossa Reptile Service, was called to the scene to remove the slippery customer, who was eventually located underneath a drinks fridge.

Snake under fridge in gas station store
Photo of Marshall removing the deadly snake after finding it underneath the drinks fridge at the gas station store (left), and a photo of the snake after it was taken off the premises.
Dan Marshall / Barossa Reptile Service/Facebook

“This would have to be one the prettiest eastern browns I’ve had the privilege of relocating this season,” Marshall said in a Facebook post on April 4. “Absolute ripper!”

Eastern brown snakes are found throughout eastern and southern Australia and are responsible for more snakebite fatalities than any other species in the country. According to the University of Melbourne’s Australian Venom Research Unit, the species has the second-most toxic venom in the world.

Their venom contains a potent neurotoxin that shuts down the victim’s heart, diaphragm and lungs, causing them to suffocate.

The natural habitat of the eastern brown snake overlaps with some of the most populated areas in the country, so it is not unheard of to find these snakes inside people’s homes.

“Eastern browns are really common, but tend to stay away from commotion and humans as they want nothing to do with us, so most of the time people are walking past them and they never know they’re there,” Marshall told Newsweek.

“The fuel station was on the edge of town so snakes are fairly common in the area. It’s not unusual for snakes to get inside buildings from time to time.”

In March, an eastern brown snake was actually found inside a car at an airport carpark, much to the shock of the passengers inside. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the snake was safely removed and relocated.

Marshall said that the snake itself was fairly calm and seemed happy to be helped back into some nearby bushland, away from people and property.

Despite their fearsome reputation, eastern brown snakes are not aggressive, and will usually choose to flee rather than bite if they come in to contact with humans. “They will only ever defend themselves if they feel threatened,” Marshall said. “Otherwise, they will simply take off in the opposite direction!”

Most bites occur when the snakes are provoked, which is why it is important to call in an expert to have them removed. “It’s important to stay calm around any snake and call a professional snake catcher if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.”