HE lifted the lid off the plastic tub and inside lay two two-metre long pythons.
We were in the Department of Environment and Primary Industries office in Wodonga yesterday ... right underneath the offices of The Border Mail.
Headlines flashed before this reporter’s eyes involving rampant pythons in the newsroom but the department’s senior compliance officer Leigh Murray would have none of it as he deftly directed the snakes for the camera.
The carpet pythons, along with pink and black cockatoos, three water dragons and a superb parrot, were seized in the past month from five homes in Shepparton.
Mr Murray said homes on the Border are next in their line of fire.
“(Department) officers will be conducting licence checks, and following up with any people suspected of being in possession of wildlife illegally,” he said.
Licences issued under the Wildlife Regulations 2002 will expire on September 30 and Mr Murray urged people to renew their licences before they were caught out.
“We urge all wildlife owners to make sure they get their licence up-to-date and that they adhere to the licence conditions,” Mr Murray said.
“Wildlife officers will be carrying out random and targeted inspections to monitor captive-bred wildlife to ensure no illegal trade of wildlife from wild populations.”
The pythons, a breed usually found in Darwin and a Murray Darling python, were now crawling across the floor and the thought of them crawling up into the newsroom didn’t seem so far-fetched.
They weren’t venomous, Mr Murray said, but if one of these grabbed a hold of your arm the bite would be more painful than a poisonous snake.
“They grab and don’t let go,” he said, placing the snakes back into a tub labelled “Corrections Victoria”.
The snakes would be going to the Beechworth Correctional Centre where a program allows prisoners to care for seized wildlife before they are given a new home.