A TODDLER found a nest of eggs and took them into his bedroom only to have them later hatch into one of the world's most venomous snakes.
Kyle Cumming's mother Donna Sim received the shock of her life when she went to open her three-year-old son's bedroom closet on Monday, Townsville Bulletin reports.
Inside was a takeaway container seething with seven baby snakes, later identified to be eastern brown snakes - regarded as the world's second deadliest species behind the inland taipan.
Kyle had found the eggs in his Nome yard several weeks ago, and asked his mum for a container to place them into.
Ms Sim said she didn't think any more of it until she had discovered the container in her son's wardrobe, full of hatchlings.
Fortunately Kyle had clamped the lid of the container down firmly, and the snakes had not yet grown large enough to push it off and escape.
"I was pretty shocked, particularly because I don't like snakes," Ms Sim said.
Ms Sim and her son took the container to nearby Billabong Sanctuary, where rangers contacted local wildlife carers to retrieve the reptiles and release them back into the wild.
It was the first time Kyle had ever picked up eggs in the wild, however his older sister Shannon Sim, 22, said her brother loved all animals, and particularly enjoyed following the adventures of one of his heroes, survival expert Bear Grylls.
Kyle has since been given a stiff talking to about the dangers of picking up snakes.
His family keeps redclaw crayfish, chickens and a pig as pets on their 1.2ha property.
"He's always out in the yard, he always loves playing out there," Shannon said.
"He's a real country boy.
"He was a bit sorry to see them go. He wanted to keep them."
Eastern brown snakes are extremely aggressive, with their venom responsible for most lethal snake bites recorded in Australia.
North Queensland Wildlife Care reptile co-ordinator Trish Prendergast said Kyle was incredibly lucky he did not get bitten.
"He is extremely lucky that his mother found them before he opened up the container and played with them," she said.
"Otherwise he may not be with us today."
The eggs would have had a perfectly warm place inside Kyle's wardrobe to hatch, she said.
Most species incubate in temperatures around 30C, needing 60-80 per cent humidity - perfect climate for this time of year.
Queensland Museum reptile expert Kieran Aland identified the snakes from photographs as eastern browns.
He said the species usually laid its eggs in dark and warm places, like mouse burrows, or in tree stumps with rotted roots.
"It was incredibly lucky the mother snake was still not around when Kyle collected the eggs," he said.
"It will probably still be somewhere in the area."
With the weather still heating up, residents and tourists are being urged to exercise caution to avoid being bitten by snakes becoming more active.
Ms Prendergast said anyone who came across a snake or eggs should leave them alone and contact NQ Wildlife Carers on 0414 717 374.
Read more at the Townsville Bulletin.