Anarchist python’s unhealthy appetite for bikies

 

A four-kilogram pet snake is recovering after a Sons of Anarchy shirt had to be surgically removed from its stomach.

Nake the nine-year-old Coastal Carpet Python was enjoying a meal of frozen rats when he accidentally swallowed his bedding at the same time, according to vets at the Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services (BBEVS).

Dr Rebecca Taylor, 32, said Nake's owner had originally taken the reptile to a local vet in Maryborough on a Saturday night in late July, where they unsuccessfully tried to remove the material with an endoscope.

"(The owner) had the shirt in the snake's basking spot to make sure it was comfortable for him," she said.

The material of the shirt can be seen just after an incision was made in the python’s skin during the operation. Picture: BBEVS
The material of the shirt can be seen just after an incision was made in the python’s skin during the operation. Picture: BBEVS

"As he ate the rats, they think maybe the shirt got caught up with it all. When snakes start eating, unless there's a big fright, in general they keep going.

"The owner found him eating the shirt and tried to remove it from him.

"To stop him eating all of it the owner quickly and cleverly cut the bottom of the third of the shirt to reduce what eating."

The reptile was referred to BBEVS where Dr Taylor performed a delicate operation called a gastrotomy.

"As soon as we cut into him we could see the fibres of the T-shirt," she said.

"The shirt was so dry, so I don't think he would have been able to pass it himself.

"There was so much friction and it would have felt so uncomfortable … if we didn't take it out Nake would have been dehydrated as the T-shirt absorbed fluids in the stomach.

"Or, it would have sat there and not moved, then his stomach tissue could have become inflamed and he could have gotten an infection."

Dr Rebecca Taylor with a recovered Nake the snake and the shirt he consumed. Picture: Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services
Dr Rebecca Taylor with a recovered Nake the snake and the shirt he consumed. Picture: Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services

The surprisingly clean shirt was in a clump and taking up about 20cm of the python's insides.

The T-shirt was immediately washed and returned to the pet's owner.

Following the operation, Nake spent a few nights in hospital and went home with a total of about 50 internal and external stitches and is recovering well.

"It's good that he was a big patient," Dr Taylor said.

"Sometimes we operate on patients that are four grams."

Both pet and wild snakes have previously also accidentally swallowed items like car parts, a tennis ball, fake eggs and even a slipper.

Originally published as Anarchist python's unhealthy appetite for bikies



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