Vets have saved the life of a huge snake who devoured a slipper as a late-night snack in Australia.
Extraordinary X-ray scans show the footwear lodged inside the carpet python.
Snake catchers Norman and Sally Hill were called after an elderly man placed his slippers beside his bed before going to sleep, only to realise one had gone missing the next morning.
Days later, the snake was spotted inside the property and the handlers managed to get hold of the animal before spotting the shoe-sized bulge in its body.
Astonishing images which showed the snake before and after a life-saving operation were posted by vets on Facebook.
“You can’t make this stuff up folks,” they wrote. “This wild, coastal carpet python, was brought into the clinic by a local snake catcher after it was found in a home having ingested a slipper.
“This made for one of the most impressive radiographs I have seen. Surgery was performed under general anaesthetic to remove the foreign object, with a procedure called a coeliotomy and gastrotomy.
“The stomach was closed in two layers, the body wall muscle was closed and surgical staples were used for the skin (an 18cm incision). The snake was given fluids, anti-inflammatories and painkillers. He woke up well and is off to for rehabilitation in a couple of days.”
Ms Hill said the snake got hold of the slipper during the night on Tuesday, days before it was spotted on Friday.
She told ABC: “The man was going to bed, and normally he puts his slippers under his bed. What happened was he woke up Wednesday morning and there was a missing slipper.
“They were looking for the slipper, and couldn’t find it anywhere. Someone thought maybe a possum took it, so they were looking around for a possum, and that’s when they discovered the snake days later.”
The snake catcher said the python may have been drawn to the slipper because of a rat or possum crawling over it or urinating on it, or even contained within it.
She added: “This is the first encounter we’ve had with a snake that’s eaten a slipper, or anything strange. Normally it’s possum, or even a cat, or a dog, or a chicken. But a slipper is a new one.”