Tiger Snake found near Collins and Spencer streets in Melbourne CBD.
Dozens of people gathered to watch Barry the snake catcher bag the slithery reptile on Thursday afternoon after police cordoned off a section of footpath near Southern Cross Station.
It is thought the scaly creature crawled into the gutter on the corner of Spencer and Collins streets about midday after falling to the tarmac during the course of a joyride beneath a vehicle.
The stray snake, dubbed Spencer Collins, was shown off to the crowd before the footpath and one of Spencer Street’s southbound lanes were reopened to traffic.
“He could have hitchhiked here,” Barry the snake catcher said in a theory shared by rangers and snake experts.
“They come up the Yarra (River), they come up the drains.”
Victorian environment department senior scientist Nick Clemann said there are several “plausible” transport modes the snake could have used to reach the city, including more sinister means.
“It could even be someone playing a practical joke, I’d hope not in terms of safety and animal welfare, but that’s also a possibility that we can’t discount,” Mr Clemann said.
Animal management rangers respond to reports of snakes in parkland from time to time, but there hasn’t been a sighting of a venomous snake in the central CBD in recent memory.
“It’s not very often they come right into the CBD, but they do live around here,” Barry said.
“They eat mice and rats and we’re swamped with (them) at the moment.”
The deadly snake, usually found in watery environments, was also hurt during the course of its Melbourne misadventure.
“He’s injured – we’re going to see if we can take him to the vets and get him fixed up,” Barry said.