'Look before you leak': Snake in toilet bites Canberra woman's bottom
Advertisement

'Look before you leak': Snake in toilet bites Canberra woman's bottom

A Canberra woman holidaying in Brisbane had a nasty surprise this week when a carpet python bit her on the bottom while she sat on the toilet.

A few days on from the bizarre ordeal, Helen Richards said she was able to look back on it and laugh, but she also wanted to warn people to "look before you leak".

Snake catcher Jasmine Zeleny pulls a carpet python out of a toilet in Brisbane after the snake bit Canberra woman Helen Richards.

Snake catcher Jasmine Zeleny pulls a carpet python out of a toilet in Brisbane after the snake bit Canberra woman Helen Richards.Credit:Helen Richards

Mrs Richards thought she was alone at her sister-in-law's house in Brisbane's west on Tuesday when she decided to do some ironing.

While she waited for the iron to heat up, she ducked into the toilet and didn't turn the light on before sitting down and feeling a mysterious "sharp tap" on her backside.

Advertisement

"It made me jump pretty high," the 59-year-old laughed as she recounted the experience.

"My sister in the country has frogs in her toilet and I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just a frog’.

A carpet python, which bit Canberra woman Helen Richards, in the toilet at Mrs Richards' sister-in-law's home in Brisbane.

A carpet python, which bit Canberra woman Helen Richards, in the toilet at Mrs Richards' sister-in-law's home in Brisbane.Credit:Helen Richards

"But I jumped up, pulled away and turned around quickly enough to see this long thing, about 10 inches out of the toilet, just receding back down into the bowl."

Realising it couldn't have been a frog, Mrs Richards said she then thought it looked like a long-necked turtle.

Loading

She peeked into the toilet and thanks to her experience growing up on a farm in Queensland's South Burnett region, identified her assailant as a non-venomous carpet python.

"I know that carpet pythons are docile, so I didn't think he was going to flash back out of the toilet at me, but I put the lid down carefully with a broom handle," Mrs Richards said.

"I then got a couple of pot plants and put them on top of the toilet to secure it and thought, ‘Well, mate, you’re in there. Now what do I do?’"

She called snake catcher Jasmine Zeleny and "kept vigil over that toilet seat" until Ms Zeleny arrived to fish the 1.6-metre long snake out.

Mrs Richards, a midwife who moved to Canberra about 24 years ago, said the bite drew blood but was not very painful.

The Duffy woman initially treated the wound by washing it with soap and water and spraying it with antiseptic, then calming down with "a couple of gin and tonics" when her sister-in-law arrived home.

Canberra woman Helen Richards, who was bitten by a carpet python that was in the toilet at her sister-in-law's home in Brisbane.

Canberra woman Helen Richards, who was bitten by a carpet python that was in the toilet at her sister-in-law's home in Brisbane.Credit:Helen Richards

She then went to a doctor the next day for a tetanus injection.

While her mind "just exploded" at the time, Mrs Richards said she now looked back on the incident and found it hilarious.

Loading

"It was honestly like running a three-legged race without a partner because my knickers were around my ankles and I could jump up and down very high, but I couldn’t go anywhere and I tripped over myself," she said.

"I think I belong to a pretty exclusive club, [with a] membership [of] one, because I don't know anyone else who's done this."

Despite seeing the funny side of it, Mrs Richards also had a serious piece of advice for toilet users.

"Look before you leak," she said.

"I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that experience."

Blake Foden is a reporter at the Sunday Canberra Times. He has worked as a journalist in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Most Viewed in National

Loading
Advertisement