A man filmed surfing with his pet snake on Australia’s Gold Coast is under investigation by wildlife authorities amid concerns about the reptile’s welfare.
Surfer Higor Fiuza went viral this week after footage of him and his pet carpet python appeared Surfing at Rainbow Bay was shared online.
Earlier this week, Fiuza told the ABC his three-year-old carpet python, Shiva, had surfed at least ten times and “was a natural”.
“She’s such an amazing snake,” Fiuza said.
“I used to take her to the beach and she loved swimming in the water, so one day I decided to take her surfing and she loved it.”
“If she doesn’t like something, she usually starts hissing, but she doesn’t hiss [in the water]. She is always relaxed.”
However, not everyone agrees with the surfing display.
Tim Hudson, of Hudson Snake Catching Gold Coast and Hinterland, said 7News he was concerned for the “welfare of the serpent.”
“Snakes are ectotherms, so obviously being in this cold, salty water can cause a lot of stress for the snake,” he told the broadcaster.
“Snakes are very fragile about their environment and the way they interact with their environment. Having them out in the cold, salty surf would definitely cause this animal a lot of stress.”
The Queensland Department for Environment and Science told news.com.au that it had launched an investigation into the clips but had not yet determined whether any laws had been broken.
“The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is aware of media reports of an individual allegedly walking a pet snake in public,” a spokesman for the department said.
“Wildlife officials are investigating the matter to determine whether any statutory provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 or permit requirements of the Nature Conservation (Animals) Regulation 2020 have been breached.”