Tired of those “[monkey-fighting] snakes on those [Monday-to-Friday] planes” — as seen in edited-for-television versions of Hollywood B-films involving snakes, a plane, and Samuel L. Jackson? Well, here’s news of one more snake, for life has imitated art yet again: this week, a real snake surfaced — and slithered — into a charter plane cockpit.
The ordeal happened, not surprisingly, over the skies of Australia — a “perilous” country already filled with sharks, poisonous jellyfish, and killer pine cones. According to The Telegraph, pilot Braden Blennerhassett was en route from Darwin to a township in the bush, when he noticed a snake crawling down his leg.
“I’ve seen it on a movie once, but never in an airplane,” Blennerhassett told Australia’s ABC Television. “Sure enough, out of the corner of my eye, I see a little bit of movement there. Lo and behold, in between the instrument panel and the dashboard, a stow away came on board and it took me a while to register that it was actually a snake. I turned [the plane] around and got it headed back towards Darwin there and said, ‘Look, you’re not going to believe this. I’ve got snakes on a plane.’”
It has been hypothesized that the snake, which is believed to be a non-venomous golden tree snake, was chasing a tree frog when it became a stowaway under the front passenger seat. When Blennerhassett landed back in Darwin and a snake wrangler came on board to retrieve it, the snake was nowhere to be found — even when trying to lure it out with a mouse. Whether or not it got away or remained hiding on board after landing was a mystery, although it was very much present in flight. The snake had inhibited Blennerhassett’s view of the control panel — and the radio transmit button — when he initially called for help. The landing was tricky as well.
“As the plane was landing, the snake was crawling down my leg, which was frightening,” Blennerhassett told Australia’s Channel Nine.
This is believed to be the first snake-on-a-plane incident in Australia, but only time will tell if it happens again. If so, those snakes better sign up for a frequent flyer miles program.