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Hungry snake swallows slipper and ends up in surgery

Jacob Miley, March 27, 2018 8:59PM The Courier-Mail

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The X-ray of the python with the slipper inside. media_cameraThe X-ray of the python with the slipper inside.


Reading level: green

This is the ssssssss-urprising story of a snake that swallowed a slipper.

The 2m-long coast carpet python gulped down the men’s shoe and had to be saved by Queensland vet Josh Llinas from Greencross Vets. He performed surgery for more than an hour, removing the slipper through a 45cm cut in the snake’s side.

He said even before X-ray images were taken, it was clear that the foreign* object was a slipper.

Python swallows slipper being operated on at HerpVet media_cameraThe carpet python with a large bump from the slipper it swallowed.

“A local snake catcher brought the snake into the clinic,” he said.

“They knew it had eaten a slipper because they saw (the snake) in the room with one slipper missing.

“You could see the outline of some foreign material in the stomach.”

Mr Llinas said it was obvious he needed to operate.

“Sometimes you can remove the foreign bodies by helping them after they’ve been relaxed … by helping them move it up the digestive tract and out of the mouth,” he said.

“This was just way too big and it wasn’t going to come out.”

Python swallows slipper being operated on at HerpVet media_cameraThe X-ray shows the slipper is still in one piece.

Mr Llinas performed a procedure called a “coeliotomy and gastrotomy” at the Mount Ommaney clinic to remove the slipper from inside the snake before closing its stomach in two layers, the muscle wall and then the skin.

Mr Llinas said the snake, which will spend the next six to eight weeks in recovery, appeared unharmed by the experience.

“There was no damage that I could see,” he said.

Python swallows slipper being operated on at HerpVet media_cameraThe python on the operating table.
Python swallows slipper being operated on at HerpVet media_cameraDr Llinas removes the slipper from the python.

Despite describing the X-ray as “the most impressive radiographs* I have ever seen”, Mr Llinas said it was a “pretty straightforward*” surgery.

“In the last couple of months, I’ve had quite a few foreign bodies removed from snakes,” he said.

“I had a pillow case removed from a black-headed python, and just a few months ago, I had a tennis ball removed from a snake.

“This was probably one of the more unusual things I’ve removed. I’ve heard of others swallowing thongs, stuffed toys. You name it, they will eat it,” Mr Llinas said.

Python swallows slipper being operated on at HerpVet media_cameraThe slipper after it was removed.


foreign: strange

radiographs: X-rays

straightforward: not difficult


to come.


1. Snake vs Slipper

After reading the Kids News article above, answer the following comprehension questions in as much detail as possible. Try and include the question in your answer.

– What sort of snake was it?

– Which vet performed the surgery?

– How did the vet remove the object?

– Before they removed the object, how did they know what it was?

– Was surgery the only option to remove the slipper?

– How long will the snake take to recover?

– What other things has the vet removed from snakes stomachs?

– Why do you think they are eating these sorts of things?

Extension: Research the coast carpet python and what it should be eating.

Time: Allow 20 minutes

Curriculum links: English

2. Snake Limerick

A limerick is a type of poem that rhymes and is usually funny. Use the snake swallowing a slipper as the basis of a story to write a limerick. If you feel comfortable, read yours aloud to the class. There are some rules to follow when writing a limerick.

They are five lines long.

Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme with one another.

Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other.

They have a distinctive rhythm

They are usually funny.

Here is an example of a limerick;

There was a young fellow named Hall

Who fell in the spring in the fall.

‘Twould have been a sad thing

Had he died in the spring,

But he didn’t — he died in the fall.


Extension: Write your own free verse poem around the Kids News snake swallowing a slipper article.

Time: Allow 30 minutes

Curriculum links: English


After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many pieces of punctuation as you can find in green. Discuss how these are being used, where and how often. What level of the punctuation pyramid is the journalist using in this article?


Please do not use one-word answers. Explain what you enjoyed or found interesting about the article. Use lots of adjectives.

Extra Reading in animals