Published:  01:00 AM, 19 September 2023

Australian man fined for taking pet snake surfing

Australian man fined for taking pet snake surfing

A Gold Coast man who filmed himself taking his pet snake for a surf has been fined by Australian wildlife authorities.

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."

The incident also raised concerns about public safety and the possible threat of the python spreading diseases to native wildlife, he added.
But Mr Fiuza has 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 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"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.

>>BBC




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