A three-metre-long python has surprised shoppers in a Sydney supermarket by slithering along a shelf in the spice section with a Woolworths spokesperson saying it was a “slippery and rare customer”.
“Only in Australia!” Hilary Leigh wrote in a Facebook post when sharing a video of the large snake at the Glenorie supermarket in Sydney’s north-west.
Fellow shopper Helaina Alati was browsing spices for Monday night’s dinner when she turned her head to the right and “just 20cm from my face” saw the diamond python. “It just wanted to say hello,” she told Guardian Australia.
Alati said it was initially curled up behind the spices. “Dozens of people must have walked past it,” she said.
Once sighted, Woolworths staff “reacted quickly and calmly” to cordon off the area for customer safety, the supermarket spokesperson said.
“It’s lucky I was the one it popped out to,” Alati said. “Most people would have freaked out.”
Previously a volunteer snake catcher, she was able to retrieve the necessary equipment from her nearby home to safely remove the non-venomous snake. She released it into nearby bushland.
“It was chill, and not aggressive at all,” Alati said.
“It wasn’t in a defensive position. It slithered right into the bag. I’m used to seeing snakes in weird places but I wouldn’t expect it to be in a Woolworths.”
Diamond pythons are found in bushland areas and the national parks of Sydney, but often go undetected because of their nocturnal and slow-moving habits, the Australian Museum says.
“The diamond python is not as widespread in Sydney as it once was and, although it is not considered endangered, it is under pressure from habitat destruction,” the museum states on its website.
“Pythons are non-venomous but can inflict a painful bite. Teeth can break off and remain embedded in the victim.”
Glenorie is a rural suburb of Sydney on the city’s outskirts.