Meth-addicted python gets clean in Australian prison

A jungle python, similar to this Burmese python, became addicted to meth in Australia. Photo from CP.

A two-metre long jungle python has been sober for nearly seven months after it was seized during a Sydney drug raid.

The python was being kept in a drug manufacturing area where it was able to inhale and absorb the fumes from illegal methamphetamine production, causing the reptile to become addicted to the drug.

“He was totally on edge, jittery, slithering and wanting to strike,” Ian Mitchell explained to the Daily Telegraph.

Mitchell, a senior manager at the Corrective Services New South Wales Wildlife Care Centre in Windsor, Australia, said large snakes are used in criminal gangs to protect property and other valuables because no one wants to stick their hand into a snake tank to retrieve cash, guns or drugs.

“Some people do use various forms of reptile as a deterrent to stop people from accessing areas where they have been manufacturing and storing drugs,” Mitchell revealed to the Daily Telegraph.

But authorities knew right away that there was something off about the way this particular python was behaving.

“Normally these pythons can be a little bit snappy, they are constrictors and not poisonous, and they just lie around,” Mitchell told the Daily Telegraph. However, this snake wasn’t acting normal — it was addicted to the drug known as ice or meth, and it required rehabilitation.

Wanting to give the python a chance at a normal and sober life, authorities took it to the wildlife centre at the John Maroney Correctional Centre, where inmates are caring for him. One of its regular caretakers is Minas Kassiotis, who helped the snake during its month-long detox and seven-month struggle toward recovery.

“We care for all kinds of Australian wildlife here and it makes me proud to know that I am repaying my debt to society by doing something to sustain our wildlife,” Kassiotis said, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

The plan for this rehabilitated reptile is to eventually find it a new home with an owner that has knowledge and experience caring for pythons and hopefully far away from drugs.