Catching snakes with Julia Baker
Queensland snake catcher Julia Baker joins Your shout to discuss her fascination with the scaly reptiles.
Listen to her story below.
Julia Baker’s path to becoming an internationally renowned snake catcher and star of the hit show Snake Boss was not always set in stone.
“I’ve gone from baking cakes to catching snakes,” Ms Baker said.
The Brisbane mother-of-two, who was formerly a pastry chef at several five-star hotels, didn’t discover her love of snakes until she was 36 during a chance encounter at Australia Zoo.
“When I was 36, my partner and I took our two daughters to Australia Zoo,” she said.
“They had this large Burmese python and from the first time I saw it I thought it was so beautiful.
“I quickly lined up for a photo and when they put the python around my neck I burst into tears and instantly fell in love.
“It’s hard to describe, as it was almost a chemical reaction.”
After falling in love with the scaly reptiles, Julia pursued her passion, becoming a snake catcher and later host of Animal Planet Australia’s highest rating program Snake Boss (known internationally as Snake Sheila).
“Out of the blue I got this idea for the snake catching television series,” Ms Baker said.
“I think the idea came to me after a party where everyone just wanted to hear my stories.
“They were enamoured as every call I go to is different from the last and you’ve got emotion, stakes, danger and humour at the centre of every encounter.
“I also knew, as a female, I could shine a different light on snakes and I could take a chunk of fear away from people.”
Ms Baker said snakes were often misunderstood and people needed to treat them with respect as they were integral to Australia’s ecosystem.
“Snakes aren’t needy or desperate,” she said.
“You can’t train them. They will tolerate you and trust you but if you do the wrong thing by them, then you will get bitten.
“If we got rid of snakes our ecosystem would be ruined - we would have that many rats in Australia it would be unbearable.
“We have the perfect climate for rodents and you don’t want an excess of rats as they bring about all kinds of diseases.”