Snake on a plane!

Biose­cu­rity of­fi­cials have snared a live snake that hitch­hiked to New Zealand on a pri­vate jet.

The Orchardist - - News - Photo of the snake avail­able on re­quest.

The snake was spot­ted on the tar­mac at Auck­land Air­port yes­ter­day. It was ini­tially con­tained with a bucket by air­port staff.

“A Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries snake han­dler was quickly on the scene and man­aged to cap­ture the un­wanted stow­away,” says Craig Hughes, MPI Man­ager North Pas­sen­ger.

The snake has yet to be iden­ti­fied, al­though it is likely to be a brown tree snake. This species is not re­garded as par­tic­u­larly dangerous to hu­mans, but could se­verely harm New Zealand’s na­tive bird pop­u­la­tion, says Mr Hughes.

“It ap­pears the snake had crawled into the wheel hous­ing of a pri­vate jet that ar­rived from Brisbane,” he says.

The air­craft had been parked in re­mote bay in Brisbane for six weeks be­fore com­ing to New Zealand.

He says MPI staff searched the plane and tar­mac area, but found no sign of any other snakes.

“This is clearly a one-off hitch­hiker.”

He says the snake was in a poor con­di­tion when cap­tured, but still alive. It is likely to be eu­thanised af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion.

“We don’t have a snake pop­u­la­tion in New Zealand. Biose­cu­rity of­fi­cials are do­ing their best to make sure it stays that way,” says Mr Hughes.

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