Stuff of nightmares: Snake covered in 511 ticks
AN UNSETTLING sight welcomed one Coolangatta resident on Thursday, who came across a python covered hundreds of paralysis ticks in their backyard water-feature.
The carpet python had to be taken to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, where vets removed and counted a whopping 511 ticks.
Gold Coast snake catcher Tony Harrison said the snake was likely in the water trying to drown the bloodsucking critters.
"They get in the water to drown the parasites," he said.
"A lot of snakes do get ticks, but I think the most I've seen is an eastern brown with 20 ticks"
Mr Harrison, from the Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher, said it wasn't a pretty sight, but that the slithering serpent nicknamed Nike was making a recovery.
"I've done nearly 19,000 relocations and when I saw this I was horrified."
Vets were able to remove the larger ticks over a matter of hours, but smaller younger ones burrowed in under Nike's scales proved more difficult and will be treated with drugs.
Vets at the hospital confirmed he was a little 'anaemic' but was recovering.
Posters on the Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher Facebook held a betting competition among themselves as to how many paralysis ticks were on poor Nike, with one user guessing 513 - just two less than the ultimate total.
Toni Turner won a snake catcher calendar for her guess.