Snake Catcher is Romance Author’s Husband

An Eastern Brown snake caught in the net – before it was set free. JK.Leahy picture.

This evening, when I called a Brisbane snake catcher to save an Eastern Brown’s life, I did not expect him to be married to one of Australia’s top romance authors, Ally Blake.


My younger son Chris had told me on Saturday night he had seen a large snake by the house, but it had gone. I wanted to check the surroundings but it was too dark when I returned from my recent trip to Papua New Guinea. After work today, I checked around the house to make sure no slithering kinds were lurking in the dark corners outside the house. This is the season for hibernators to emerge. Sure enough, at the back of the house, in the shady leafy spot among layers of fallen leaves and a stone wall, the fish net moved from side to side when I approached.

I knew it was alive, and I could see the beautiful long golden tail tuck away instinctively. The head was locked into the nylon knots in an awkward angle. It was an Eastern Brown, about a metre and a half long. We had caught a large male two years ago in the same spot and freed him into the Brisbane City Council wildlife reserve. This one was surprisingly alive and strong after several days in the net. The Eastern Brown snake accounts for more fatalities than any other Australian Snake. It is the second most poisonous land snake in the world and the most poisonous in South east Queensland.

The snake we caught looked exactly like this Eastern Brown. Picture courtesy of Queensland Museum.

I quickly ran back into the house to phone for help. From 5:30pm today, I called six snake catchers, one after the other – they were all busy. Finally, the fifth snake catcher who was heading three hours out-of-town told me to call Mark, the Bellbowrie snake catcher.

Mark told me he was away, but he would get to Bellbowrie in half hour, and if I had not found anyone else, he would set the snake free or take it away for a small fee. Mark also said he lived in Bellbowrie. I told Mark, I just wanted to make sure, the snake did not die.

After 45 minutes, Mark arrived. Armed with my torch, camera and his hoop, net and snake-catching equipment, we ventured into the back of the house where the snake was. Mark is an environment scientist and like me, he was more concerned about saving the snake’s life. I was relieved when he told me that.

As Mark tried to undo the feisty Eastern Brown, we had a conversation about other things and I mentioned casually that I had to leave soon to attend a creative writing workshop.

“Really! My wife writes romance novels. She has written 32 books”. Mark beamed.

“Who is your wife?”

“Ally Blake”.

“Wow!” – that was all I could say. Mark’s wife, Ally Blake is one of Australia’s top romance authors with over 4 million copies sold world-wide. She has published through Harlequin Mills and Boon, Entangled Publishing and Tule Publishing.

Mark catches snakes part-time, and only because he loves them, and he wants to protect them. He said most people he helps to catch snakes or removes snakes for – want the reptiles dead.

When Mark could not untangle the snake, he suggested it was safer to take the reptile with part of the net to his house. There, he was better equipped to relax the reptile and properly treat its injuries and rest it before releasing the snake into the local reserve.

Mark said the snake was a female of a few years and that females tended to stay at a favourite spot and the males come to visit.

“If you see two snakes wrestling, those will be two males fighting for her,” Mark said.

That was not really the news I wanted to hear – but a lot of changes will be happening this weekend to the snake’s favourite hiding place.

I have to also check out some of those romance novels by Ally Blake.


13 thoughts on “Snake Catcher is Romance Author’s Husband”

  1. Hello there, that snake is something! We only have two kinds of poisonous snakes where I live. What a suspenseful evening with an added bonus. I’m glad the snake gets to adjust and go back into its habitat. So many people kill rattlesnakes here just because they are poisonous :(. What a wonderful, exciting post!


    1. Hello – Good to see you here! Thank you so much for reading the post. I just spoke to Mark, the snake catcher this afternoon and he said there were a couple of nasty gashes to the snake but by the next day, the cuts dried up and she was fine. Mark released her into Anstead Reserve, a few kilometres away today. I think she will be fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I enjoy visiting your blog, it’s so pretty and colorful and you always have a nice variety of posts 🙂 I adore animals also, and I love a good positive outcome. What a neat story that the snake catcher’s wife is a romance author! Thanks for sharing, it’s always good to hear from you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting night you had! I’m so glad the snake was taken by Mark, who would treat it and care for it until he could release it in the reserve. As for finding out about his famous wife, I imagine that made your day. You’ve hardly been back two minutes and it’s all happening! Nice post, JL. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know you’re well used to snakes out there, but it must still be scary to know you have such a poisonous snake on your grounds. I hope it’s come to no harm and I’m sure Mark will look after it well. As for living next to such an author (and not knowing) – that’s great. Invite her round for coffee. She might give you a few tips of the best way to get a publishing deal! Hehee. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s very astute of you, Joycelin! Personally, I think the latter can be the more dangerous of the two at times! They can certainly deliver a sting, for a start, and they swing a better punch. I’d put barbed wire up, if I were you. I might do that myself, too. Hope you’re settled back home now.. and back to the daily grind.

        Liked by 1 person

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