Queensland man fined for surfing with his pet snake on the Gold Coast

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A man who took his pet snake surfing on the Gold Coast has been fined for breaching the conditions of his permit to keep the animal.

The man posted a social media video showing himself with his native carpet python on the waves at Rainbow Bay.

He told a media outlet he believed the snake “loved it” because the reptile didn’t hiss while on the water.

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But the move divided opinion online, with some arguing it caused distress to the snake.

Hudson Snake Catching Gold Coast and Hinterland’s Tim Hudson said he was concerned for the snake’s “welfare”.

“Snakes are ectotherms, so obviously that can cause the snake a lot of stress, being out in that cold, salty water,” he told 7NEWS.

“Snakes are very fragile in their environment and how they interact with their environment, having them out in the cold, salty surf would definitely cause that animal a considerable amount of stress.”

A video was posted to social media showing the man and snake surfing. Credit: Instagram

The man has now been fined $2322 for breaching the conditions of his permit.

The man was handed the fine by wildlife officers on Thursday, Department of Environment and Science (DES) senior wildlife officer Jonathan McDonald said.

“The man was brought to our attention when he appeared in local media taking his python into the surf,” McDonald said.

“Our investigation found the man had a permit to keep native animals, but he was issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice for breaching section 88a of the Nature Conservation Act.

“Permit holders are not allowed to take animals from their licensed premises unless taking them to a vet or selling or giving the animal to another permit holder or taking it to an authorised display.”

The snake involved is a type of carpet python. Credit: Instagram

Displaying an animal in public requires a separate permit from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Native animals should only be taken out in public for a specific approved purpose and in a way that protects their welfare, McDonald said.

“Taking native pets out in public can cause the animals unnecessary stress, and they can behave in an unpredictable way when they are removed from their enclosures,” he said.

“Snakes are obviously cold-blooded animals, and while they can swim, reptiles generally avoid water.

“The python would have found the water to be extremely cold, and the only snakes that should be in the ocean are sea snakes.

“We also issued the man with a warning for not updating his online record book in relation to ownership of the python.”

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