Gold Coast Man Fined For Taking Pet Carpet Python Surfing
And the most Australian news story of the week goes to…
Any headline involving reptiles and fines has a non-insignificant chance of being Australian news.
With 869 reptile species in Australia (93% of them being native), we are considered to be the world’s lizard capital – are you swelling with patriotic pride too?
By the same token, our ability to dish out fines like bird feed is also top-shelf.
From the strictly enforced ‘no hat, no play’ rule to the ‘mandatory leash-wearing at The Pass’ rule, there is no crime too small to go unpunished downunder.
Here’s how a Gold Coast man copped a $2,322 fine from wildlife authorities for taking his pet carpet python, Shiva, surfing.
Higor Fiuza and his bredli carpet python Shiva became local celebrities earlier this month after video of them catching waves went viral. But their short-lived fame also tipped off wildlife protection officers. They say the man endangered Shiva and breached his permit to keep the snake by taking her out in public.
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science says it began investigating the surfing duo after Mr Fiuza appeared in local media, and this week issued him a fine of A$2,322 (£1,207; $1,495).
Taking native pets out in public can cause them “unnecessary stress” and could make them “behave in an unpredictable way”, wildlife officer Jonathan McDonald said in a statement. “Snakes are obviously cold-blooded animals, and while they can swim, reptiles generally avoid water,” he said. “The python would have found the water to be extremely cold, and the only snakes that should be in the ocean are sea snakes.”
Mr Fiuza previously told local media Shiva loves the water and she has surfed with him at least 10 times. “I always took her to the beach and she loved to be in the water swimming, so one day I decided to take her out for a surf and she loved it,” he told the ABC. “Usually when she doesn’t like something she starts hissing but she doesn’t hiss [in the water], she is always chill.”
Shiva isn’t the first animal to find fame for surfing at Rainbow Bay. A duck – named Duck – is a regular and has even been known to steal waves off Australian surfing champion Steph Gilmore.”
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