IT'S a scenario few pet owners would ever wish to experience - a huge python eating one of their beloved chickens.
But that was the sight Burrum Town woman Deb Voigtlander was greeted with on Friday morning when she stepped into her chook pen to feed her pets.
A 3m carpet python lay coiled in the corner of the pen, a big bulge in its stomach and feathers littered the bare-earth floor.
Frightened and in shock, Deb said she ran straight for the phone inside her house and called the only person who she thought could help.
"I rang the Grand Hotel at Howard, where I work," Deb said.
"There were only three people there at 10 o'clock in the morning but they got onto Cowboy and he came out."
Cowboy - known by no other name - is the town's local bushman, a true-blue, dust-on-his-boots horse-riding, tobacco-chewing man of the land - the perfect bloke to call when a snake's in your backyard.
"I've worked in the bush all my life, so I know how to handle snakes," Cowboy said as he drew on his cigarette.
With that, the unshaven bushy put his beer on the ground and moved into the chicken pen.
Armed with a hessian bag, piece of string, and with the cigarette still in his mouth - he grabbed the python from the pen and bagged it to be released in bushland out of town.