A 25-year-old man faces charges for allegedly releasing two domesticated snakes in Coogee in what is believed to have been an act of revenge against his ex-girlfriend, the reptiles’ owner.
Posting on social media Tuesday, 27 Oct 2023, the woman confirmed that one python has been secured after a 10-day search. The relieved owner was overjoyed to be reunited with Bagel, after picking her up from a local vet.
Pet Pythons Set Loose in Coogee
The drama began Saturday, 21 Oct 2023, when the 25-year-old man is said to have damaged two snake enclosures at his unit on Mount Street in Coogee. Subsequently, he placed the two snakes, Bagel and Mango, in an unsecured box outside his premises, from where they mysteriously disappeared.
The owner of the pet snakes, expressed her anxiety and fear for the snakes’ safety on a local Facebook group page. She described Bagel and Mango as domesticated creatures, ill-equipped to survive in the wild, and implored anyone with information about their whereabouts to come forward.
In response to her plea, the police were notified, and on Friday, 27 Oct 2023 at 5:50 p.m., they arrested the 25-year-old man in connection with the incident. He has been charged with two counts of destroying or damaging property worth less than $2,000. He was subsequently denied bail and is set to appear in Parramatta Local Court, per the NSW Police.
Caring for the Snakes in an Unfamiliar Environment
The owner’s plea for help is well-founded, as the two 2.5-meter-long snakes are domesticated and not accustomed to the local environment in Coogee. The owner alleged that her former partner had dumped the snakes in an act of anger during their break-up.
The fear for the snakes’ wellbeing is shared by the local community, as the native climate in Coogee significantly differs from the warm conditions found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, where these pythons originate. The local environment could pose challenges in terms of temperature, finding food, and accessing water sources.
“They should not be out there in the environment, because they’re captive animals, they don’t survive well because they’re not from here. The temperature’s not right, they don’t know how to find food, so it’s quite a precarious situation for the snakes, more so than the community,” Australian Snake Catchers professional reptile handler Sean Cade explained.
Local authorities have urged residents not to handle the snakes if they encounter them but to seek professional help.
Meanwhile, the search continues for Mango, the albino python. The community hopes that the snake can be found and safely returned to the owner before survival becomes a more significant challenge.
In addition to her community’s support, the woman also expressed her thanks to WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue, and Education Service) and the Randwick and Maroubra police force for their valuable assistance in locating her missing snake.