MONTY the monster python really landed on his feet – medically speaking – after being rescued from a dog attack on Wednesday.
The 7.4kg, two-metre-plus carpet snake was whisked to safety by Wildlife Carers' reptile specialist Julie Curtis and rushed to the Central Veterinary Hospital in Lismore.
Shocked, cranky and sporting some deep puncture wounds and bruising after his encounter with two pet dogs near Bungawalbin, Monty was soothed and swabbed, injected with painkillers and antibiotics, X-rayed for possible spinal damage, anaesthetised and stitched up on the operating table.
He (staff at the hospital werereluctant to ‘probe' the powerful reptile to determine its gender, but refered to Monty as ‘he' throughout) spent the night at Ms Curtis's New Italy home, curled up on heat pads to aid his convalescence.
Monty, thought to be between 20 and 25 years old, will remain there until his wounds heal.
The python had gone on to the dogs' patch when he slithered across their fenced-off pool area.
The dogs went for him and he apparently gave a good fight, drawing blood with his hundreds of pin-sharp teeth, before escaping up a pole.
The dogs' owner called the Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers and Ms Curtis came to the rescue, climbing a ladder to grab him.
Wildlife Carers have seen quite a few snakes emerging in poor condition this spring.
“A lot of them are coming out really thin. We think they must have been injured when they went intohibernation,” said Ms Curtis, who has been with the wildlife carers for 15 years.
Weakness wasn't Monty's problem, however. “He's very strong, all muscle,” she said.
However, while he may have come out of the scrap bloodied but unbowed, Monty now faces the fight of his life.
The X-rays showed he had a number of broken ribs – not good for a snake, even one as healthy as Monty.
Yesterday, Ms Curtis was going to take him back to the hospital for further examination.
If Monty survives, he will be returned to the property he was found on, surely wiser for the experience.