QANTAS had its own dramatic “snakes on a plane” episode when a three-metre python joined passengers on an early morning flight to Papua New Guinea.
But unlike Samuel L. Jackson’s 2006 fictional Hollywood blockbuster in which a nest of vipers causes death and destruction on a jet, this reptile was concerned only with self-preservation.
QF191 was about 20 minutes into its 6.15am flight from Cairns to Port Moresby on Thursday when a woman pointed outside the plane and told cabin crew: “There’s a snake on the wing There’s its head and if you look closely you can see a fraction of its body.”
While some passengers scoffed in disbelief, she was correct.
Rick Shine, a snake expert at the University of Sydney, said the specimen was a “very uncomfortable” scrub python, the longest snake in Australia.
“There’s no way it could be anything else,” he said. “They’re common in north Queensland. They’re ambush predators and if there are rodents anywhere nearby, they’ll most likely be in the vicinity. They often find their way into tight ceiling spaces in houses, although I’ve never heard of one on a plane until now.”
One passenger, Robert Weber, a website designer in Cairns, said: “The people at the front were oblivious to what was going on but the passengers at the back were all totally focused on the snake and how it might have got onto the aircraft.
“There was no panic. At no time did anyone stop to consider that there might be others on board.”
Stowaway snake found under plane seat
Mexican serpent is named Furtivo after being found by Glasgow airport staff under seats of flight from Cancún
The Guardian, Friday 26 October 2012 14.49 EDT
Furtivo, the Mexican snake found on a plane at Glasgow airport
Furtivo, the Mexican snake found on a plane at Glasgow airport. Photograph: Scottish SPCA/PA
Scottish airport staff got a surprise when they stumbled on a Mexican serpent stowaway under a seat.
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says quick-thinking workers at Glasgow airport remained “remarkably calm” when they discovered the 18-inch (45-centimetre) snake on Tuesday under seats in the passenger cabin of a flight from Cancún.
The society says the young snake was taken to its Glasgow animal centre, and named Furtivo, Spanish for “sneak”.
Furtivo, a member of the Dryadophis family of snakes, is apparently not venomous but “feisty”.
The snake may have sneaked on to the plane before takeoff, or hitched a ride in a passenger’s hand luggage.
The society says Furtivo will remain in its care until an expert home can be found.