A Man in Australia Punished for Taking His Pet Snake Surfing

(NewsReady.com) – In America, it’s not uncommon to run into people with their pets in public places. There are even hiking backpacks for dogs. In Australia, a man reportedly loved taking his pet with him as well — now he’s in trouble with the authorities.

Higor Fiuza reportedly went viral online when a video surfaced of him surfing with his pet snake. A video of the incident showed the bredli carpet python, named Shiva, wrapped around the man’s arm and shoulder while he caught some waves. At one point, the snake was hanging out on the surfboard as Fiuza paddled into the sea.

Fiuza told the local news that his 3-year-old snake “goes for a swim a little bit and then comes back to the board” while he waits for a good wave.

Officials with Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science saw Fiuza and his pet snake in a local media report. The agency decided to investigate the incident and eventually accused him of putting Shiva in danger and breaching his permit for the snake by taking her into public. Ultimately, the agency issued a fine of $2,322 ($1,495).

The New York Post reported Jonathan McDonald, a senior wildlife officer, said the pet owner had the permit to take care of the python but had no other special permits allowing him to travel with it. In a statement, the official said the Department doesn’t “want permit holders to be displaying their native animals in public unless” they approve it. He explained that native animals can sometimes be unpredictable and taking them in public could “cause the animals unnecessary stress.”

Officials were also worried about the impact on the snake because the reptiles are cold-blooded and usually don’t go into the ocean. Fiuza has allegedly stated he knows when his snake is uncomfortable because she hisses.

McDonald expressed concern about the snake’s welfare but didn’t mention if the agency was going to confiscate the snake.

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