Discovery of tick-infested python at Byron Bay on NSW north coast causes mum to feel queasy

Horrifying discovery of a tick-infested python on a rural property leaves local mother feeling ‘queasy’

  • A two-metre long python was found covered in ticks
  • It had 30 ticks on its head, four on its body and six on its tail
  • The snake was discovered amongst lemongrass in Byron Bay

A mother-of-two was left ‘absolutely horrified’ after discovering a two-metre long python with 30 ticks stuck to its head.

Rhianna Tannock said she and her mother’s partner, Evan Barratt, discovered the snake while walking through a patch of lemongrass in Byron Bay on Saturday.

The pair were ‘gobsmacked’ by the carpet python and stopped to take a few photos before helping it.

Ms Tannock said she’s had plenty of run-ins with snakes before but seeing the large blood-sucking beetles covering the snake’s head was enough to make her feel sick.

Mother-of-two Rhianna Tannock found a snake with 30 ticks attached to its head (above) while walking in Byron Bay

Mother-of-two Rhianna Tannock found a snake with 30 ticks attached to its head (above) while walking in Byron Bay

Her mother's partner Evan Barratt used tweezers to remove 30 ticks from the snake's head (above), four from its body and six from its tail

Her mother’s partner Evan Barratt used tweezers to remove 30 ticks from the snake’s head (above), four from its body and six from its tail

‘(I’m) pretty used to seeing snakes, they stick to themselves if you leave them alone,’ she told Yahoo News.

‘There’s not much that can make me queasy, but they certainly did.’

Ms Tannock said Mr Barratt used a pair of tweezers to remove 30 ticks from the snake’s head, including four from its body and six from the end of its tail. 

‘I don’t recommend anyone to go and pick up wildlife especially snakes unless you are trained to do so,’ she said.

Ticks are a small to medium sized parasite that feed on animal and human blood.

Ticks commonly attack weak or sick animals and are found in humid, bush-dense areas on Australia's east coast (pictured, the tick-covered snake)

Ticks commonly attack weak or sick animals and are found in humid, bush-dense areas on Australia’s east coast (pictured, the tick-covered snake)

They are common on Australia’s east coast and are usually found in humid, bush-dense areas.

Ticks are known to target animals that are weak or sick, including snakes, koalas, wallabies and kangaroos.

Animals are not able to remove the ticks themselves and require human intervention.

Anyone who finds an animal covered in an excessive amount of ticks is urged to call their local animal rescue organisation for help.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PET IS BITEN BY A TICK

Some ticks carry disease that can kill domesticated pets like cats and dogs. 

Tips for removing ticks:

  • Call your local vet for the best advice on how to remove a tick
  • Keep yourself and your pet calm
  • Wear disposable gloves
  • Use tweezers or a tick remover to remove the tick by its head where it enters your pet’s skin (don’t squeeze its body)
  • Twist as you pull on the tick to fully remove it
  • Check your other animals for other ticks 

Symptoms of tick toxicity:

Dogs

  • A change in barking
  • Gagging
  • Vomiting (possibly with froth)
  • Difficulty breathing or grunting 
  • Wobbliness in the back legs 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Coughing 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Progressive paralysis
  • Other abnormal behaviour

Cats

  • Agitation
  • A change in meow 
  • Unusual breathing 
  • Weakness
  • Gagging
  • Drooling 
  • Not eating
  • Difficulty walking 
  • Other abnormal behaviour

If your pet displays any of the above symptoms call a vet immediately. 

Source: RSPCA

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