TERRIFYING: 11-week-old puppy saved from python attack
A HORRIFYING Jubilee Pocket snake attack on a small puppy is being used by a local zookeeper to inform residents how they can humanely save both their pet, and the snake if the same happens to them.
Rob Hall was enjoying an afternoon barbecue with his family in his Jubilee Pocket home when he heard a 'significant' yelp of pain from his 11-week-old puppy, Luna, in the backyard.
When he rushed to its aid, he was shocked to see a three-metre long scrub python with its jaw around Luna's head and tightly constricting her body.
Luckily for Luna, Mr Hall is a zookeeper and the general manager of Hamilton Island Wildlife, with over 30 years experience in handling all types of animals, including snakes.
"Immediately I knew the constriction was the biggest issue, not the bite, so my daughter and wife helped me hold on to both the snake and the dog's head, as I slowly unravelled the python from the weakest part - the end of the tail," he said.
"It was important to make sure the puppy could breathe and get air into it, as that is what would kill it before the bite."
Mr Hall said once the python had been unravelled off the puppy, the next issue was dealing with the bite.
He said pythons were renowned for latching on and 'never letting go', so an industry learnt tip was used to release its powerful bite.
"The trick is, snakes have an extremely sensitive mouth and will react to something that has a terrible waft of taste, that's why some frogs and toads will release a stench," he said.
"I yelled to my daughter to get some white vinegar, she returned with my Jim Beam but it was more than enough to do the job, and we poured it into the snake's mouth and it instantly released the poor little puppy."
The puppy was quickly rushed inside to be assessed, cleaned up and taken to the vet to be looked after.
Mr Hall said Luna was "very lucky" and escaped with a large wound above her left eye, a wound below her jaw and some bruising and swelling, however she had recovered quickly and was "looking back to normal".
After the incident, the snake was captured by Mr Hall and placed in the shower until a container was sourced to transport the snake to a location away from any residences.
"After all the chaos we were focused on getting the puppy sorted so I placed the snake in the shower and closed the door - wrong move as my wife was terrified when she walked in and it was poking over the top of the shower," Mr Hall jokingly said.
The snake was released into the Conway National Park and "happily slithered away".
He said although it was a "traumatising" experience, there was a positive message to take away from the harrowing ordeal.
"I want to show people there is a humane way to deal with something like this, which ends up with the snake and the dog both fine in the end," he said.
"Most people will probably go straight to trying to kill the snake, but there's some tips to make sure it can be safe and humane.
"Don't pull or tug on the snake, as that will rip the dog up, focus on unravelling straight away so it can breathe, and try to be as calm as possible.
"After all, we are in the snake's territory and it's just doing what nature intended it to do."