A Wamberal man received the shock of his life when he stumbled on a writhing ball of snakes in his backyard.

What he did not know was that they weren't interested in him, but in one another. He had stumbled on a bizarre snake mating ritual.

Christopher Finch said he had never seen anything like the "hellhole" of diamond pythons, some up to 2.5m long, on his property - just a short stroll from neighbouring houses and the Central Coast Highway.


Christopher Finch and the largest Diamond Python from his Wamberal back garden. Source: News Limited

"It was just hell rolled up together in a ball. I've been living here for 13 years and in that time have never seen anything like this - it's whacko stuff," the international investment specialist, who says the influx to his 3ha-property has tripled in that time, said.

"Now my place is just riddled with snakes, including around eight young adult diamond pythons so far, red-bellied black snakes and green snakes. One snuck into the house."

Australian Reptile Park snake expert John Mostan said what Mr Finch saw in his garden was a mating ball of pythons.

"In this case, several males mate with a female all at once in a huge ball," he said. "This is quite a common occurrence."
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The pythons.
Mr Finch called the Australian Reptile Park after becoming concerned about his 80-year-old mother who also lives on the property.

"The problem is that my mum is terrified and won't come out of the house, especially when they were spotted near her veggie patch," he said.

The snakes have been relocated into bushland.

It is proving to be a hot season for snake sightings.

A record number of residential sightings has been reported to the Australian Reptile Park.

Resident snake expert John Mostan said the spike can be put down to the recent hot weather.

"Snake season has started early because of the unseasonably warm weather. We usually expect reports to come in from around the beginning of October, but we've been getting calls from late August," said the Reptile Park's venom manager. "On days over 37C snakes prefer to keep their body temperature around 34C, so may search out cooler areas."

He said if you do discover snakes in your backyard, it is best to leave them alone.

"Snakes are a sign of a good ecosystem and they will eventually go on their own way. If it is a venomous snake, or you are not sure, call a snake expert either at the Reptile Park or a native animal rescue service such as Wildlife ARC, who may come and identify the snake and assess the situation."

Contacts: Australian Reptile Park, 4340 1022; Wildlife ARC, 4325 0666 (24 hours)
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Christopher Finch and the diamond pythons in his back garden.