In early September, the world was made aware of a Gold Coast man who routinely took his pet python surfing with him. Well, now he’s been hit with a hefty fine of $2,322 AUD (about $1,500 USD) for doing it.
The snake owner, Higor Fiuza, was a pretty regular face in Gold Coast lineups. To the discomfort of some and amazement of others, so was Shiva, his bredli python. “She goes for a swim a little bit and then comes back to the board,” Fiuza said in an interview with 9 News. “She’s just cruising waiting for the wave, for the perfect wave.”
According to Fiuza, he could tell she enjoyed the ride because she has a habit of hissing when she’s annoyed. The footage of them surfing together caught a lot of attention, but that turned out to be a bad thing for the pair. “The man was brought to our attention when he appeared in local media taking his python into the surf,” Senior Wildlife Officer Jonathan McDonald, from the Department of Environment and Science, said in a statement.
Despite the fact that Fiuza did indeed have the necessary permit to keep Shiva as a pet in his home, he wasn’t allowed to take her out in public. “We do not want permit holders to be displaying their native animals in public unless it is done for a specific approved purpose and in a way that best provides for the welfare of the animal, the safety of the public and complies with the relevant codes,” McDonald explained. “Taking native pets out in public can cause the animals unnecessary stress, and they can behave in an unpredictable way when they are removed from their enclosures.”
McDonald went on to say that since snakes are cold-blooded they generally avoid water — water snakes excluded, of course — and likely would have found the ocean to be a little too cold for comfort.