Python that ate pet dog and chain rests on vet's orders
UPDATE A HUGE python that ate a pet dog chained up in its kennel in a Caniaba backyard will not undergo surgery in the near future.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary senior vet Michael Pyne said the snake was in good condition despite consuming a length of chain with the 'possum-sized' dog.
"The snake is fine. He's a very happy snake," Mr Pyne said.
"The chain will stay in until the snake has digested it all. We have to let the food dissolve.
"It's just a waiting game, We'll let him digest it."
The vet said there was no danger in leaving the chain inside the carpet python for the next few weeks.
"It's a very simple digestive intestinal system. We are not going to get twisted bowels.
"In two or three weeks we'll take an X-ray."
Mr Pyne said it was the first time in his career that he had seen a snake swallow a tethered pet.
"You certainly see snakes swallow weird stuff."
He expressed concern that intense media interest in the case may turn people against snakes.
"These are the good guys," he said.
"They keep all the rats and mice away. They help keep the venomous snakes away."
EARLIER - 1.10pm: A HUGE python that ate a pet dog chained up in its kennel in a Caniaba backyard would be more than 50 years old, WIRES Northern Rivers has said.
WIRES volunteer Sue Ulyatt said the snake, which also swallowed the chain the dog was tied to, spent the night with WIRES carers and was this morning sent to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for monitoring and possible surgery.
"The snake won't be able to actually digest that chain," Ms Ulyatt said. "First thing this morning it was taken up to Currumbin Wildlife hospital, where it will be monitored for, like, 24 hours and if it doesn't regurgitate the whole thing then it will go into surgery and the chain will be removed.
"If that happens, that will be a fairly long recovery for the snake, but the snake will be fine. It will be cared for for quite some time, until it is fully recovered and then it will be released back into the wild."
Ms Ulyatt said the python would be released back into the Caniaba area, where it had most likely already lived all its long life.
Ms Ulyatt also praised the actions of the dog's owner, saying she had chained up the dog to protect native wildlife in the area.
Despite being deeply upset, "the lady was very sensible and realised that the python would strictly have looked at the dog as a food source and she called WIRES for help because the dog was now, you know, attached to the chain."
Ms Ulyatt said this was only the second time in a decade, that WIRES knew of, a dog had been eaten by a snake on the Northern Rivers.
"It's usually the other way around - the snake comes off second best," she said.
"But in this case because the dog was chained up it couldn't get away. It was also a very small dog, which is why this happened.
8.40am: A HUGE python has eaten a dog chained up in its kennel in a Caniaba backyard.
Posting on its Facebook page, WIRES Northern Rivers says the dog's owner got the shock of her life when she went down to let the dog off its chain and found the python in its kennel, with the chain hanging out of its mouth.
WIRES reptile rescuers were called in to cut the chain and remove the snake.
The snake is currently being cared for by WIRES and will be taken to the vet today to have the chain removed, if it does not regurgitate it on its own.