What should have been a fairly straight-forward, 'Straya-type story about a mind-boggling number of snake eggs discovered in a school playground has instead descended into an online debate, with commenters and experts pointing out what may be a pretty major flaw.
The drama all started when wildlife rescue group FAWNA shared a photo from a call-out to a school in Laurieton, NSW, where students had come across a large number of eggs in a sandpit on December 20.
Volunteers eventually removed 43 eggs from seven nests in the pit, identifying them as belonging to an eastern brown snake and estimating that they would have hatched within two weeks.
But FAWNA's Facebook post was inundated with comments, with other experts weighing in to question whether a snake could actually bury eggs.
Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland's school of biological sciences and a specialist in venomous animals, told the Guardian Australia that while he initially believed they were snake eggs, the fact that they were buried was "inconsistent with snakes."
"I reckon they are indeed water dragon eggs," he said. "The large number of eggs also points towards water dragons."
The controversy forced the wildlife group to post an update to their Facebook page, with FAWNA NSW president Meredith Ryan standing by the identification.
"We believed at the time and still do believe that the eggs belonged to a snake, as there were several sightings in the area at the time that the eggs were found, but we were fairly certain that we were dealing with snake eggs."
Miss Ryan also admitted that they had returned to the relocation site in an attempt to quell any further questions.
"[I] found that all but one of the eggs had hatched," she said. "The remaining egg contained a small pink worm-like embryo with two eyes and no sign of legs.
"It may or may not have been a snake but the good news is that all the animals have been released and living in the wild."