When snake catchers Tony and Brooke Harrison arrived to a property on the Australian Gold Coast on Thursday and found a “skin-crawling” number of ticks latched onto to a reptile they were truly shocked.
The carpet python had been soaking in a pool at a Coolangatta home when the pair arrived, and they believe it was trying to drown the parasites.
While some had successfully come off the snake, now affectionately named Nike, in the water, hundreds remained.
“This poor carpet python was living with a whopping 511 ticks….Wow,” a post on the Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher Facebook page read.
Nike was taken to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital on Thursday where vets worked for hours to remove the visible parasites.
“There are still tiny young ones under the scales that will be treated with drugs to kill them…,” the Facebook post also said.
Social media users were gobsmacked by the images and video of the reptile which were shared on Thursday, with many calling it an “insane” amount of parasites on the snake.
“OMG! That’s a huge tick infestation – poor python carrying that load – so glad it was found, hoping it will be in recovery mode soon,” one person wrote.
“Thank you for giving him care and doing your best to restore his health,” another person commented.
The snake catchers responded to one Facebook user saying they believe the parasites targeted the reptile’s head due to blood flow.
They also replied to another person that “snakes deal with it better” compared with other animals, but said on Thursday the ticks could have killed the python if it wasn’t discovered.
Yahoo7 has attempted to reach out to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for an update on the snake’s condition, but is yet to receive a response.