Main image via The Guardian
When buying fresh produce from the supermarket or market, sometimes we come across things like snails or worms hidden in between vegetables.
This of course, is entirely normal as these animals sometimes get caught in the packaging process. What is not normal however, is finding a venomous snake in your supermarket-bought produce.
And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to one man from Australia.
Alex White from Sydney had gone about his regular routine of purchasing his groceries from a supermarket when he noticed what looked like a huge worm wiggling in a plastic-wrapped lettuce that he had brought home.
Until the “worm” flicked out a forked tongue.
“I kind of completely freaked out when I saw this little tongue come out of its mouth and start flicking around and realised it was a snake because worms don’t have tongues,” Alex shared.
“I definitely kind of panicked a bit,” he added.
Image via The Guardian
Instead of a harmless snake, Alex was shocked to find that the creature was actually a venomous pale-headed snake that according to authorities, had made an 870km journey from a packing plant in the Australian city of Toowoomba to the supermarket in Sydney.
The venomous snake was found wrapped in a packaging plastic with two heads of cos lettuce.
Authorities shared that the cold-blooded juvenile had most likely survived the long journey in a lulled state thanks to the refrigerated supermarket supply chain.
Alex had bought the salad from the supermarket on Monday and rode home on his bicycle with the venomous snake in his backpack.
Image via The Guardian
As soon as the lettuce was unpacked on the kitchen table, Alex and his partner Amelia Neate spotted the wriggling creature.
They also noticed that the plastic wrapping the vegetable came in, was torn and that the snake could easily escape from its enclosure. They quickly stuffed the reptile and the lettuce into a plastic food storage container.
The couple immediately contacted the WIRES rescue organisation and a snake handler was dispatched to remove the snake that night.
Before the snake handler arrived, WIRES explained to Alex that, “If you get bitten, you’ve got to go to hospital really quickly.”
The supermarket has currently launched into an investigation to find out how the venomous snake managed to find its way into the pre-packed vegetable.
“We’ve worked with the customer and the team at WIRES to identify the snake’s natural habitat, which is certainly not an ALDI store!” the German-based supermarket chain said in a statement.
WIRES reptile coordinator Gary Pattinson shared that the snake was less than 20cm long but it was “as venomous as it will ever be”.
The pale-headed snake is currently being cared for by the reptile coordinator but is expected to be returned to Queensland next week, in accordance with WIRES’ policy of returning wildlife to its habitat.
“It’s the first snake I’ve ever had in sealed, packed produce,” Gary noted. “We get frogs in them all the time.”
Image via Flickr
After the discovery of the venomous snake, Amelia who originates from Germany, shared that this was a setback in her efforts to assure her family that Australia’s wild Outback is not as dangerous as everyone makes it seem.
“For the last 10 years or so, I’ve told my family at home that Australia’s a really safe country,” Amelia said. “I’ve always said I’m just in the city; it’s totally fine here”.
Well. We’ll be triple checking every single supermarket purchase from now on.
Have you ever encountered something like this? What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever come across in a packaging before? Let us know!
Info via Channel News Asia