When she went to bed Jan. 4, Australian mom Tess Guthrie curled up next to her 2-year-old daughter Zara as usual – not expecting to wake up a heroine in the morning.
Before dawn she heard her cat hissing – but thought it was normal, she told the Brisbane Times, because the cat had been acting up recently. But when she looked on the bed at where she put her daughter to sleep, she saw an odd form writhing around.
Grabbing her mobile phone to shine some light on the bed, she saw the uninimaginable: curled around the arm of her daughter was a six-foot-long python, according to the Times.
Apparently, after the snake saw Ms. Guthrie, it began constricting around Zara’s arm and started to strike at her. Guthrie thought the python was going to kill her daughter, and maternal instinct took over.
“… on the third time [it was biting down on her] I grabbed the snake on the head. I pulled her and the snake apart from each other,” Guthrie told the newspaper. Then, she said, with her child in one arm, Guthrie whipped the snake across the room and dashed outside.
Guthrie and Zara arrived at a nearby hospital via ambulance and stayed the night while the bites were being treated.
To understand the snake’s side of the story, the Brisbane Times spoke with Tex’s Snake Removals’ Tex Tillis. Tillis removed the six-foot python from the house and said it did not want to eat Zara, just wanted to “hug” her.
“That snake, if it was bigger, could have crushed the baby. It could have tried to eat the baby, yes,” he said.
Only once it felt threatened by Guthrie did the python enter attack mode.
Though Guthrie described her discovery as a “shock,” pythons are native to Australia.
Coincidentally, here in the US, which has no native pythons, the great 2013 Python Challenge starts this week. Sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the one-month open season on Burmese pythons in Florida is aimed at thinning the burgeoning population of pythons in the wild. These pythons were released either deliberately or accidentally by exotic pet dealers – and possibly disillusioned pet owners – and they are classified legally as an invasive species that threaten the Everglades ecosystem.
On Dec. 30, United Press International reported, a 17-foot Burmese python scared a family when it slithered into a picnic area near Orlando, Fla. and caught it on camera before it was killed by a park ranger.