It sounds like one of those tests universities might give to an aspiring engineering student: how would you get a live brown snake's head out of a can of Coke?
Not easily, is the correct answer.
"Freeing an Eastern brown snake smoothly and safely from this kind of situation has to be one of toughest jobs I've done," snake catcher, Gavin Smith, said.
He was contacted last month by a member of the public - Tiffany O'Regan - who had spotted the live snake with its head embedded in the can on the side of a busy dual carriageway in Canberra.
"I was very glad that Tiffany had been able to improvise and prevent it from crossing the highway, which it had tried to do," Gavin Smith, who is also an academic at the ANU, said.
A pooper scooper was also involved in the rescue. The snake had to be moved out of danger from passing cars.
"I was keen to get the snake away from the side of a busy highway, and into a safer and calmer environment so I could free him, knowing it was going to be an intricate job," Dr Smith said.
And then the task of cutting the snake free - its head was in the can and the can had to be cut away.
"I made sure that I initially cut a small 'window' in the can so I could see where his head was, and work around it accordingly. I knew the snake was badly stuck so I just had to make some precision cuts in the can to gradually create enough room for him to back out himself.
"My main concern was not doing any further damage to the snake, while obviously avoiding being on the receiving end of his sharpness!"
Dr Smith researches the movements of snakes in urban environments like Canberra. Even as he went neraly no-to-nose with the brown snake, his researcher's way was to observe: "Although the snake was likely experiencing a lot of pain, and feeling distressed and discombobulated, his behaviour was actually surprisingly calm.
"I do wonder whether animals in these kinds of situations sometimes have a sense of what you're trying to do in terms of helping rescue or free them? Whether or not they do, I try my best to keep the animal as calm and as reassured as possible."
But the job was done, with a lot of care and compassion. The snake was enticed into a long bag.
"Thankfully, the injuries the snake received from the can around its neck were mainly superficial, and after a short period of healing and recovery, the snake was driven back to whence he came and released back into his home range.
"Being able to give him a second chance, and watching him exit the bag under his own autonomy, is precisely the reason I do this work!"
Dr Smith feels that snakes are misunderstood. Many people would have just killed the snake with a spade.
"Like them or loathe them, snakes are not an enemy, but a vital part of our ecosystem, and we need these incredible evolutionary figures around to perform their environmental service as both predators and prey. I feel they need to be understood, respected and looked after better by the community, particularly as it is we that have encroached onto and disturbed their naturally occurring habitats."
And he has a final thought. The incident was unnecessary: "I felt extremely sorry for the snake to have ended up in such a desperate situation that was entirely avoidable had some person not thoughtlessly discarded their waste into the environment."
He is assuming that the incident was an accident but people from country Australia say that drinks cans are sometimes deliberately left around as a way of catching snakes. The snake gets attracted by the liquid and puts its head through the hole, to be trapped - and without Dr Smith to rescue them.
Steve Evans is a reporter on The Canberra Times. He's been a BBC correspondent in New York, London, Berlin and Seoul and the sole reporter/photographer/paper deliverer on The Glen Innes Examiner in country New South Wales. "All the jobs have been fascinating - and so it continues."
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