Stock image: Dev Khalsa

Sydney -

A big snake that made a meal of a tiny Chihuahua swallowed more than it could chew.

The 2.5m python was in the care of veterinary surgeons on Australia's east coast on Friday.

They will have to operate unless it coughs up the chain that tethered the dog to its kennel, and which now protrudes from its mouth.

The owner phoned volunteer wildlife officers on Thursday after she found a snake with a bulging belly and her pet dog's chain still attached to the otherwise empty kennel.

The chain was snipped and the python taken to the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary by the Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service's Sue Ulyatt.

“It's only the second incident we’ve had in over 10 years,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Usually it's the other way round - the snake comes off second best.” - Sapa-dpa