A scrub python has undergone emergency surgery in far north Queensland after eating a young girl’s beloved stuffed toy, then lying on her bed to digest it.
Snake catchers were called to a home in Kuranda last week after a family saw the 2-metre reptile eat their daughter’s stuffed toy cow.
Hayley-Anne Hill from Miss Hiss Reptiles said in two decades of catching snakes, she had never seen anything like it.
“The whole house was excited by the time we got there, it’s not something you come across every day,” she said.
“We bagged the snake trying to digest this non-food item in about 20 seconds.
“We knew straight away it had a feed on something. The bulge in the middle of the snake was about the size of a chicken.
“It was good they kept an eye on him otherwise we wouldn’t have known it was a toy and it could’ve been detrimental.”
After wrangling the snake, Mrs Hill took it to a local vet who offered to surgically remove the toy lodged in its belly.
‘Moo’ the snake saved by specialist vet
Vet nurse Shannon Diblasio said a team performed surgery on the python after it failed to regurgitate the toy.
“The fluffy toy absorbs a lot of internal fluid, so we gave the snake fluid then one of our exotic vets popped it under general anaesthetic and opened it up,” she said.
“We heard it ingested a child’s toy but we weren’t sure what sort it was, then the toy cow came out head first, so it was almost like giving birth to the toy.
“The vet pulled out a whole fluffy toy cow in one piece.
A python with a stuffed toy in its belly prior to surgery. (Facebook: Marlin Coast Veterinary Hospital)
“We’ve seen some unusual cases but nothing quite like this.”
Toy cow ‘gone to toy cow heaven’
Ms Diblasio said the family did the right thing by keeping an eye on the snake and getting it medical help.
“This snake probably would have had a slow and horrible death from the toy being stuck so they did the right thing,” she said.
“It recovered well but unfortunately the toy didn’t do so well and he’s gone to toy cow heaven.”
Newly named ‘Moo’ the snake was discharged from the vet today and is recovering with the snake catchers, who plan to release it back into the wild.
Mrs Hill said Moo would be released after a few weeks in rehabilitation.
“She’s doing extremely well,” she said.
“She’ll be with us for about six weeks and we’ll make sure she can digest some food, then we’ll put her back out to where she belongs.
“Hopefully she won’t go eating any more cows.”