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Snakeskin found in central Auckland

A snakeskin was found on the side of a road in the central Auckland suburb of Freemans Bay last week (Tuesday 31 October). Snake experts have examined the skin and believe it to have been freshly shed by a 1.8m member of the Boidae family (boas and pythons).

Exactly which species of snake the skin has come from is uncertain. However, one possibility could be a species of python called the carpet or diamond python, which is very common in eastern and northern Australia. This snake is docile, and is the most commonly kept pet snake in Australia.

The MAF snakecatcher team has conducted a search of the vicinity where the skin was found, but no snake was found. Specially trained dogs were also used, but could not pick up a scent due to heavy rain. Further searches will be undertaken in the area over the next week.

Residents in the area were visited by the search team, and information will be distributed to them providing advice on what to do if they sight a snake. If anyone sees a snake, they should not approach the snake and should immediately call the MAF Hotline (0800-809-966). The MAF snakecatcher team remains on standby.

A snakeskin was found in the Wellington Botanical Gardens in 1999 and was eventually found to be a hoax. The snakeskin was imported from overseas by a practical joker. However, MAF is taking this recent find seriously. Because the skin was freshly shed, there is a strong possibility that it could have come from a live snake living free in the area or being kept as a pet.

It is illegal to import or keep snakes as pets in New Zealand. Anyone with information about any snake being kept as a pet should also phone the MAF Hotline or the police.

For further information contact:

For snake search details contact Dr Derek Belton, Director Animal Biosecurity, Phone 04 474 4125 For general enquiries contact Gita Parsot, MAF Communications. Tel: 04-498-9806


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