A family on the New South Wales south coast was given a fright yesterday when a flat battery led to the discovery of an enormous snake curled up on top of their engine.
Rebecca Pascall was attempting to start a car at a property in Sussex Inlet when she realised it had a flat battery and called the NRMA.
Patrolman Steve Hedger, 52, answered the call for help just after 10am and discovered the 1.4 metre diamond python when he lifted the bonnet.
“I turned up to what I thought was an NRMA call, put my hand in underneath the bonnet, lifted it up and there it was right in front of my face,” he told 9news.com.au.
“But because it looked how it did, I didn’t jump, it looked placid.
“I still wasn’t going to touch it.”
Mr Hedger, who has lived in Sussex Inlet since the 1970s and run his business – Sussex Inlet Mechanical Service – there for 27 years, said he “never” had any other encounters with reptiles in cars.
“It actually reared up, because it mustn’t have liked the look of me,” he said with a laugh.
“But it calmed back down after id moved away a bit.”
Ms Pascall said she was minding the car for her brother who lives in Texas and had no idea the snake had nestled under the bonnet.
“We do get them in the area, you can’t help where we are on the coast and near the bush, it’s totally normal, but it was really unusual place to find it sitting,” she said.
“I’ve got a three-year-old and my dog was there too and we were out waiting for NRMA so I’ve picked up the kid and trying to get him out of the yard so he didn’t upset it.
“But it was really calm, it was just sitting there, it was so weird.
“It was definitely testing my fear of them, you just never see them sitting like that.”
Ms Pascall said she had good reason to be cautious of snakes.
“My parents who live in the property behind us lost their two dogs to a snake only 18 months ago,” she said.
“Being Jack Russell’s they got a bit rowdy about something being in their yard.
“So I think we’ve always kind of been cautious of keeping the yard snake proof.”
But snake handler Peter Newans – who owns Snake Aware and South Coast Snake Catchers with his partner Morgan Carolan – said diamond pythons aren’t a threat to humans.
“Diamond pythons are a very, very placid species,” he said.
“They’re really not aggressive, they possess no threat to people whatsoever.”
Mr Newans even said diamond pythons can be “quite good to have around the house”.
“They keep down the rodents,” he said.
“Sort of like nature’s pest control.”
It was Mr Newans business partner, Ms Carolan, who came to Ms Pascall’s rescue.
In a video taken by Ms Pascall, to send to her brother in the US, Ms Carolan is seen successfully untangling the snake from the car’s engine.
Mr Newans confirmed the snake was later “released at a suitable location”.