An Australian snake seeking to sneak into snake-free New Zealand stowed away on a private jet, only to be nabbed on the Auckland Airport's tarmac.
Australia and New Zealand might be neighbors but the antipodean nations differ from each other in a host of ways – not including their devotion to Vegemite or Marmite, respectively. One such difference has to do with snakes.
Australia is home to many snakes, many of which are venomous. In fact, the world's most venomous snake (the Inland Taipan) hails from the land down under. New Zealand, on the other hand (sorry, snakes) has no native snakes. Not a one. Plenty of sheep but nary a serpent... and that's just how they like it.
That's also how they'd like to keep it, and the Kiwis employ “biosecurity officials” to ensure the slithering reptiles can't gain a foothold (DOH!) on fair Aotearoa. Proof of which was displayed several days ago when a private jet flying out of Brisbane arrived in Auckland with an undeclared herpersona-non-grata: a rather dazed and confused Brown Tree Snake that presumably sneaked into one of the jet's wheel wells before it left OZ.
The critter fell to the tarmac upon arrival in Auckland, sparking a full-fledged snake alert. “A Ministry for Primary Industries snake handler was quickly on the scene and managed to capture the unwanted stowaway,” according to ministry spokesman Craig Hughes. The injured snake was quickly euthanized – possibly before it would have been deported. Nothing against snakes in general, mind you, but Brown Tree Snakes are a notorious invasive species that has caused havoc in Guam, for example. Granting them asylum in New Zealand is a non-starter. (via UPI and ABC News)