Carpet python riddled with 500 ticks slinks into pool 'to try and drown them'

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Satanica

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#1
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-11/carpet-python-riddled-with-ticks/10707690
Tony Harrison from Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher was called out to retrieve the reptile from a property at Coolangatta on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Harrison live streamed the call out to his Facebook page, capturing the moment he first spotted the tick-riddled snake.

"What happens is in Mother Nature animals can live in harmony with parasites both internal and external. If something happens to them the parasites get the better of them.

"He's got hundreds of ticks on him. That's why he's in the water, he's trying to drown them.

The python, which has since been named Nike, was taken to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for treatment.

It took vets hours to remove and count the 511 ticks.

Mr Harrison hosted another live Facebook video on Friday afternoon to announce Nike was "doing well".

"He'll be a long term patient."

On Friday morning, a Currumbin Wildlife Hospital spokeswoman said they were running tests on the python to determine any illness.

University of Queensland Professor of Parasitology Stephen Barker said the ticks attached to the python were known as reptile ticks.

But to have so many, he said, was an unusual sight.

"We can't help but wonder if the snake is already sick or old … they have lower immune response to parasites, so you do tend to find a lot of ticks on sick animals," Professor Barker said.

Professor Barker said he could spot a mix of adult males and females latched on.

"The male ticks have probably been attached there for months," he said.

"They don't really take much of a meal, they're waiting there for a female.

"Once she's fed she releases a pheromone that says, 'I'm here', and then the males will detach and they'll go and mate with the female.

"She'll drop off and lay her eggs, and the male will just stay there. They might stay there their entire life until they're completely worn out or too old, then die."

Professor Barker said it was also very difficult to drown a tick.

"It would take maybe 10 or 12 hours," he said.
 

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Sejanus

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#7
That's actually incredibly fascinating. I never much cared for snacks but this one I actually feel some sorrow for because having a bunch of blood suckers all over you no thanks!
 

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Keepalowprofile

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#10
Is the snake a pet? Did I miss that? I know that carpet pythons inhabit that part of Australia, so now I'm wondering if he was a pet or a wild snake? :)
I guess I broke the Golden rule of never assume.
I guess it could be wild. In that case, getting in the pool was really his only legal (and moral) option.
 

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JackBurton

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#15
Ticks are one of the worst creatures on the planet. One of my bottom 5 small creatures./insects/arachnids/whatever the fuck they are.

I always though ticks only latched on mammals though. Weird.
 

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