Malcolm the diamond python is about "five to six feet" long, according to owner Jay Rawlings. Photo: Jay Rawlings
Missing: three-year-old Malcolm, last seen hanging in a tree out the front of his north Canberra home. He’s about 150-180 centimetres long, and will likely be looking for a warm, dark place to hide, which could include under a car or in an unsuspecting neighbour’s letterbox.
According to the Lost Canberra Pets Database Facebook page, Malcolm is a “friendly” diamond python who went missing in Bonner on Tuesday afternoon, prompting dozens of concerned commenters to express their fear of finding Malcolm somewhere unexpected.
I know most people are pretty petrified of them ... It’s hard to say if he would do anything, I don’t think he would, but you never know.Jay Rawlings
His owner, Jay Rawlings, said they’d just returned from a holiday and put Malcolm in his usual tree out the front to catch some sun, but when they came back outside to check on him, he’d gone.
The post on Canberra Lost Pet Database Facebook page has been shared more than 300 times.
“He [usually] just sits out there in the tree, he’s happy to sit there for an hour or two,” an upset Mr Rawlings said.
“As big as he is, they can get into some pretty small, tight places. I don’t know if he’s gone straight for water or he’s looking for heat, I’m not too sure. It’s hard to tell what they’ll do.”
The lost snake post on Facebook had already been shared more than 300 times by 10am on Wednesday, but Mr Rawlings said he didn’t hold out hope of finding the snake he’s owned for about a year.
Three-year-old Kaleb would often play with Malcolm. Photo: Jay Rawlings
Malcolm’s a pretty common feature in the neighbourhood around Mulligans Flat Road. Mr Rawlings said neighbours are used to seeing him in the tree, or out and about on walks – but despite the snake’s docile nature, people are still scared.
“I think there are a lot more people than you think that would have pet snakes, but I think there are a lot more people that are scared of them. If he’s out the front or I’ve got him over my shoulder going for a ride or a walk or whatever you get some pretty black looks, people walk in the other direction, or take a few steps off the path,” he said.
“I know most people are pretty petrified of them, especially because there are a lot of dogs and cats around here. It’s hard to say if he would do anything, I don’t think he would, but you never know.”
When he's not out for a walk or some sun, Malcolm's in a locked enclosure inside. Photo: Jay Rawlings
When he’s not in his locked enclosure, Malcolm tends to get along fine with Mr Rawlings’ dogs, and isn’t even phased when Mr Rawlings’ three-year-old nephew Kaleb plays a little rough with him.
“I don’t know about friendly, but he’s just real timid, he’s tame, he’ll just cruise around and do what he wants. He’s not really bothered by anything,” he said.
“They don’t have the love for you like a dog does or anything, they don’t look at you with little beady eyes. But they’re pretty intriguing, it’s pretty cool to watch what they do.”
Mr Rawlings feeds Malcolm live mice, rats, and baby birds, which he says usually freaks out the girls but has his male friends fascinated.
Malcolm isn’t Mr Rawlings’ first snake. The 25-year-old has owned pythons on and off since he was about 18 years old, and admits they’re an “unusual” pet. He said friends are usually both scared and excited to hold him, and Malcolm was a prominent feature at a recent birthday party.
Canberrans require a licence to keep most species of reptiles as pets. Mr Rawlings said when Malcolm wasn’t in the tree out the front, he was usually kept in a locked enclosure inside.