Sydney – Australian authorities had to send a two-metre jungle python to drug rehabilitation after it was seized during a police raid of a meth lab in New South Wales, officials said on Tuesday.
The python had absorbed methamphetamine through its skin while living in a drug lab and was showing visible signs of addiction, New South Wales Corrective Services said in a statement.
When found, it was coming off methamphetamine and acting in a confused and erratic manner and behaving aggressively, a spokeswoman told dpa.
She could not give more details on the meth lab and the raid, since the case is still before the courts.
The seized python was then sent to a Corrective Services-managed wildlife care centre in Windsor north-west of Sydney for a six-week-long detoxification program.
"It just takes time for the drug to leave the snake's system but through our assistance, we managed to calm it down after several months and bring it back to its routine feeding patterns," Ian Mitchell, a manager of the the centre, said.
While it takes about six weeks for the detox, it takes several months for the snake to return to normal behaviour, the spokeswoman said.
She also said all the seized reptiles involved in court cases are put to a ballot after the legal case is complete to decide whether to re-house them at another animal-related organisation, hand them over to a wildlife service or placed them with an owner who has a reptile licence.
The wildlife care centre, which is part of a prison, has also helped give other reptiles a second chance, including an eastern brown snake found injured on the side of the road.
The centre allows minimum-security inmates to participate in the programme handling care for captured wildlife. Their jobs include feeding and cleaning the reptiles, except venomous snakes.