'I watched my husband fight this python bare fisted'
A MARY Valley man has bare-knuckle boxed an 8-foot-long (2.4m) carpet snake which was trying to devour the family's three-month-old puppy centimetres from where the family slept with their baby.
In a Facebook update posted on February 25, Laura Toebe detailed the incident which had taken place two days earlier:
"Dear friends, lend me your ear for I have a wildly insane true story to tell. Meanwhile, down in Australia...
"Two nights ago, about 10pm, as I was drifting off to sleep I heard our three-month-old puppy yelp.
"I fumbled around for the lantern and when I switched it on... there, inches from my feet, and a couple feet away from my sleeping baby, was an 8ft python with four thick coils tightly wrapped around my (now unconscious) puppy.”
USA born Ms Toebe raised the alarm and her husband, Steve, quickly sprang into action.
"I yelled out 'Help Steve! Big snake!'
"Steve was there in a flash. "F***!” he declared with a slight quaver to his voice.
"In an instant he looked around and saw nothing to hit the snake with. So, in an act that can only be described as heroic, I watched my husband fight this python bare fisted.
"He punched the beast at least eight times. It started to uncoil from the dog's neck/head and then it had a foot-and-a-half of 'the bitey end' snapping at his hand.
"Before long, the pup regained consciousness and Steve was able to swoop in and grab the dog and uncoil the last 1.5 coils of snake,” Ms Toebe's post said.
"All of this happened in the space of under three minutes. Afterwards, when the four of us huddled in the kitchen (mum, dad, baby, pup) assessing the injuries, we were all breathless from the pumping adrenaline.
"The puppy was bloody around the neck from three good puncture wounds.
"So here we are. Two days later, our adrenaline is finally returning to normal, but I continue to reel, awestruck by the sheer bravery, strength and heroism of my husband.
"I'll tell you what: Aussies are tough.
"In the end, the puppy had a penicillin shot and has returned to his normal cheeky self.
"As for Steve, my love, my protector, my hero - if you ever ask him about this story, he will no doubt downplay it but I assure you, I have given you this true account as a first hand witness with no exaggeration.
"We are all so relieved this story had a happy ending. I will never forget that night in all my life.”
Terrifyingly, Ms Toebe said the snake returned the following night.
"It came back last night, but while I was getting the kids to safety it disappeared, so we don't know where it is now, but we're expecting it to come back.”
University of Queensland Associate Professor Bob Doneley specialises in reptiles at the university's School of Veterinary Science in Gatton.
Prof Doneley said pythons generally selected the size of their prey based on their ability to swallow it.
"A one metre python will unlikely present a risk to a puppy or baby; they'll be after mice and other small prey,” he said.
"A 2-3m long python will be looking for a possum or something of a similar size; that's when they might think of a puppy or a cat.
"If you head up north towards Cairns you are likely to encounter scrub pythons, they eat wallabies so a baby doesn't present an obstacle to it.
"They could eat a baby, but is it likely? No.”
Prof Doneley said the biggest risk posed by a python to a baby was salmonella, which is part of their gut flora.
He said pythons quite often enter human habitats for warmth.
Ms Toebe said it all happened very quickly.
"He (Steve) was yelling at me to grab something to hit it with, and I was like 'what have you been hitting it with?'
"He had to act under the circumstance. He does feel a little sorry to the snake but it got away safely.”
Prof Doneley said the only sensible thing to do if confronted by a snake in your house is to not challenge it.
"I am not criticising this man for what he did though, I would have done the same thing,” he said.