Topics:  baby, editors picks, lismore, python, snake

Mother's worst nightmare as snake wraps around baby

Tess Guthrie and her Daughter Zara Guthrie, aged 2 of Richmond Hill. Zara was attacked by a 6 foot Python while she lay sleeping in her mothers bed. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Tess Guthrie and her Daughter Zara Guthrie, aged 2 of Richmond Hill. Zara was attacked by a 6 foot Python while she lay sleeping in her mothers bed. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

A LISMORE mother had the fright of her life when she woke up in the early hours of Saturday to find a python wrapped around her young daughter's arm.

Richmond Hill's Tess Guthrie was woken by the hissing of her cat Duchess to discovered the two metre python wrapped around the right arm of her two and a half year-old daughter, Zara.

"I used my phone as a torch and saw the snake. At that moment the snake started constricting, and bit her twice," Ms Guthrie said.

"The third time it really bit her deep, so I grabbed the snake's head and grabbed Zara and tried to pull them apart.

"It was really hard, the snake was very strong. I could not believe a snake was biting my daughter.

"This is something you hear about happening overseas, but not here," Tess said.

"I threw the snake away and run with Zara to my dad's house next door."

The Python that attacked baby Zara with snake handler Tex Tillis. Photo Contributed
The Python that attacked baby Zara with snake handler Tex Tillis. Photo Contributed Contributed

The mother bandaged her daughter's arm and cleaned her wounds, following instructions from paramedics over the phone.

The paramedics were very surprised to receive a call for a snake bite at 3.40am in the morning.

The paramedics later treated the young victim and took her to Lismore Base Hospital, where, coincidentally, Tess works in the X-ray department.

Tess later contacted snake safety advisor Tex Tillis who found the two metre reptile in a corner of the bedroom.

Mr Tillis said he had attended about 170 jobs removing snakes from homes - 90 of them pythons.

This is the first time, he said, he had heard of a python attacking a child.

"Saturday was a cold night, so the snake may have been looking for warmth.

"When Tess grabbed the snake, maybe the reptile's brain activated defence mode and it started to constrict and bite the little girl," he said.

The snake was released into the wild by Mr Tillis.

Tess and daughter Zara were yesterday happy to be back home.

"We just need to ensure that her bites do not get infected. But she seems very much her normal happy self," Tess said.

The family is still waiting for Duchess, the cat, to come back to the house.

"We haven't seen her since that night. If she had not woken me up I would not have noticed the python until the next morning," Mrs Guthrie said.



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