An Australian father said he was left shaken this week after a snake attacked his 4-year-old son before attempting to drag the injured child into a bush.
Evan Thompson said the incident occurred on Thursday evening outside of a new home in Airlie Beach, a coastal location in Queensland’s Whitsunday Region. The dad told 7 News he turned around after hearing a scream, and saw his child was being attacked by a scrub python.
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The non-venomous python is the country’s longest snake, and this one reptile was particularly aggressive during the encounter, Thompson said.
“It was just a massive snake. It’s head was very big and was latched onto [my son’s] leg,” he said.
“At that stage, he was holding onto the side of the boardwalk and it was just pulling him under, into the bush. I knew I had to do something so I ran straight up and punched it straight in the head.”
The scrub python (Amethystine python) can reach over 22 feet in length and is known for its “grumpy attitude,” according to a fact-sheet published by Australia Zoo. Unlike some other deadly snakes in the country, the scrub python does not kill using venom, instead relying on its powerful jaws and constriction abilities to subdue prey.
In March this year, photos published by media outlet ABC showed a large scrub python that was attempting to eat an entire wallaby outside a home in Mission Beach, Queensland.
Thompson told 7News the one he fought off was at least 15 feet long. He said the snake tried to attack multiple times and managed to bite the child on the upper leg.
“I knew I just had to do something,” the dad said. “I grabbed its jaw and just bent it back as hard as I could to get [the snake] off him. As it popped off [my son] ran off. The snake dropped back down and then tried to get back up onto the boardwalk at my son. Then I had to run around and grab it on the tail and just pull this thing away as it was constantly trying to get back at him.”
The python was eventually killed with the help of a friend, Thompson said. The child was taken to Mackay hospital for treatment on his leg wound and is now recovering, 7 News reported.
“I’ve never seen a snake that aggressive,” Thompson said. “That was a big snake, it was about 15 foot, maybe even over that. For it to grab a 4-year-old child, he’s not exactly small.”
Queensland is home to about 120 snake species, the Department of Environment and Science says, noting they are essential to the ecosystem but “among the least popular of animals.”
Referencing the scrub python, one world heritage site website in the region, the Wet Tropics of Queensland, says they are a dangerous speciesvenomous or not.
“A bite from this snake could result in a severe wound,” a FAQ says. “Additionally, a python’s body is almost entirely muscle so a large individual is extraordinarily powerful. Once coiled around your body, the combined strength of several people might be required to remove it.”