Queensland snake whisperer has eco message
A MIDLIFE crisis helped Julia Baker find her dream job.
The mum-of-two is one of Brisbane's most in-demand snake catchers and cameras follow her daily reptilian wranglings in the new TV series Snake Boss.
After going through a divorce, Baker left her job as a pastry chef to pursue her snake-catching licence.
"I was a very good pastry chef, but I didn't want to be overweight," Baker told APN.
"My health took over ... I started with a bucket list. At the age of 40 I decided I'm going to be the person I want to be.
"I've always loved animals and I found a way to make a living out of it. I haven't worked a day in my life for many years now."
Spring is Baker's busiest season as Brisbane's snakes come out of their winter hibernation.
"They all come out of the woodwork and they're a bit hungry and frisky," she said.
"My phone has been ringing off the hook."
She hopes the TV series, which has already earned her fans overseas in Africa and Europe, will educate viewers about snakes and how to deal with them.
"What's so great about the show is you watch the residents get converted quite easily as I give them facts about snakes," she said. "In one episode a gentleman went from holding an axe wanting to kill it to wanting to pat it.
"A lot of these myths about the only good snake being a dead snake are passed on through the generations."
She hopes more Queenslanders can learn to accept snakes as an essential part of the ecosystem. "We can live next to them as long as we take precautions," she said.
"Eastern Browns are the second-most venomous snake in the world and they are everywhere. We can't just relocate them all out in the bush. We've moved into their habitat."
Snake Boss airs Mondays at 8.30pm Qld, 9.30pm NSW on Animal Planet.