Early one Sunday morning the phone rang. A woman’s voice, on a mobile, described
how while walking her dog she had come across what could be a large worm, or snake,
lying listless in the grass. Luckily the location wasn’t far, and we were on the
scene within a short time.
What we found was a snake, severely injured, and already at the mercy of a serious
fly infestation. Picking it up rapidly, and hardly waiting to place the stricken
animal in the box we had brought, we sped away. Behind us the lady who made the call
was heard to say ‘It’s just like Steve Irwin!’.
Returning to base we quickly examined the injured snake. It was quickly identified
as a Baird’s Ratsnake, probably male. On inspection it could be seen that a good
portion of the snakes side was missing, possibly the result of having been caught
by the edge of a cars tyre. The wound was cleaned of all the fly eggs, which thankfully
had not hatched, and some of the dead tissue removed.
We quickly visited our specialist vet who was less than optimistic of the animals
chances of survival. They directed us to keep the wound clean, providing wound powder
to help, together with a broad spectrum antibiotic. At this point we were not even
sure how much, if any, internal damage had occurred, and whether the snake would
be able to eat, digest or pass its food.
After a long fight the wound started to heal. With successive sheds the skin repaired
itself, and thankfully with time the snake started eating. This was a real case of
winning a fight against all odds, the snake lived with us for many years before finally
passing away naturally.
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