‘Horrifying’: Carpet python with 511 ticks caught in Australia
Australian Tony Harrison said he has never seen anything like it in 26 years of snake catching.
A snake has been found in garden pool in Queensland, Australia, with 511 parasitic ticks biting into its skin.
The carpet python was caught in Coolangatta by snake catcher Tony Harrison, who said he has never seen anything like it in 26 years as a professional.
“It was horrifying, mate, because I’ve got a bit of a phobia of those ticks to start with.”
Mr Harrison said the snake, which he nicknamed Old Nike in reference to the tick in sports brand Nike’s logo, was in the water of the pool to try and drown some of the ticks.
The snake is now at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital being treated for blood loss and infection caused by the parasites, some of which were toxic paralysis ticks, which carry neurotoxins that can paralyse their host.
Mr Harrison, who has played with snakes since he was six years old growing up in Sydney, says there are “good times and bad times” with the job.
“Another bad point is I’ve nearly died three times.”
The snake catcher has been bitten by the re-bellied black, rough-scaled and Eastern brown breeds, some of which are regarded as the deadliest in Australia.
“But I’m lucky in the way that I do (snake catching) with my son and my other half.”
Mr Harrison works and lives with his partner Brooke Smith, 27, with whom he has a young son.
“All three of us do it so we’re not missing out on anything,” he said. “Whereas others can be doing it for 10 hours or 15 hours a day while their other half is at home.
“They really think you’re a bit of a god because the fact is you’ve just saved their life.”
Mr Harrison broadcasts many of his snake catches live on Facebook and said producers from the Discovery channel and National Geographic have previously approached him to film, but the deals have fallen through.
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