Wellington, March 27, 2017
A live snake that managed to stow away on a private jet from Brisbane has been snared at Auckland airport.
The reptile was spotted on the tarmac and airport staff initially contained it with a bucket before a Ministry for Primary Industries snake handler arrived to complete the capture.
A search of the plane and tarmac area found no sign of any other snakes.
“This is clearly a one-off hitchhiker,” MPI spokesman Craig Hughes said on Monday.
He said the snake had yet to be identified, but was likely to be a brown tree snake.
Threat to our birds
The species was not regarded as particularly dangerous to humans, but was a threat to New Zealand’s native bird population.
Mr Hughes said that the snake was in a poor condition when it was captured on Sunday and was likely to be euthanised.
It had apparently crawled into the wheel housing of the plane, which had been parked in a remote bay in Brisbane for six weeks before the flight across the Tasman.
The creeping hitchhiker
(Picture by Primary Industries Ministry)