A man out and about on his daily walk has stumbled across a huge snake skin in Far North Queensland, Australia.
Stuart Morris discovered the remnants of the 7-metre reptile near a creek in the Cairns suburb of Freshwater.
“I took a couple of pictures of it and carried on with my walk, and on my way back it was still there so I thought I’d roll it up and take it home,” Mr Morris said.
“I soaked it in water in the laundry tub because it was all stiff and I laid it flat on the floor in the sun to dry it.
“I didn’t think we got snakes that big around here.”
Mr Morris said he initially thought the snake was a native scrub python that had shed its skin, but on closer inspection he decided it had been skinned.
“I can’t believe someone would actually do that to a beautiful creature like that,” he said.
Snake expert David Walton said the skin appeared to belong to a reticulated python from South-East Asia.
He said it was a mystery as to how the snake came to end up in Australia.
“Reticulated pythons are an exotic species and you cannot keep them unless you are a zoo,” Mr Walton said.
“The snake could have been smuggled in and it died and someone tried to skin it, or the skin has been smuggled into the country.
“It is very dodgy.”
Mr Walton said the importation of such a skin was also illegal.
Mr Morris said he planned to contact environmental authorities about his find.
“I’ve got a phone number to ring and I’m going to see if they can shed any light on it and I hope they can find out more about it,” he said.
The reticulated python is registered as an Appendix II species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
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