Weird stowaways that made it into NZ

A snake gave staff and customers at an Auckland car yard a shock when it slithered out of a vehicle on Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't the first serpent this year to clandestinely make its way past New Zealand border guards.

A snake was found under a shipping container in Lower Hutt in January.

Hitch-hiking snake ride ends at Lower Hutt - thankfully it was dead. Photo / Primary Industries Twitter
Hitch-hiking snake ride ends at Lower Hutt - thankfully it was dead. Photo / Primary Industries Twitter

It had made its way into the country from Thailand but, unfortunately for the snake, the six to eight-week journey took its toll and it was dead when it was discovered.

According to a Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman the body was surprisingly fresh and supple.

An Australian redback spider was found alive and well nestled in a packet of grapes by a West Auckland woman last year.

It was found by West Harbour resident Debbie Bellingham after she bought a bag of red Australian grapes from her local Countdown supermarket.

Mrs Bellingham said she was worried about her 3-year-old daughter who had been eating the grapes.

Redback spiders are native to Australia and have a venom toxic to humans with bites causing severe pain. Established populations exist in central Otago and Taranaki.

Debbie Bellingham found a redback spider in a bag of Australian grapes she purchased from a Countdown store. Photo / Supplied
Debbie Bellingham found a redback spider in a bag of Australian grapes she purchased from a Countdown store. Photo / Supplied

In 2014, an invasive giant hermaphrodite snail had its bid for a new life in New Zealand thwarted at the border.

The Giant African Snail was intercepted at Auckland airport. It was travelling with a couple returning from Madagascar.

Bio-security officials have stopped a giant snail and its offspring from sliming a path of destruction through New Zealand. Photo / Primary Industries Twitter
Bio-security officials have stopped a giant snail and its offspring from sliming a path of destruction through New Zealand. Photo / Primary Industries Twitter

"At nearly 15cm long, it was the largest [snail] many of our staff had ever seen," said Craig Hughes of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The unwanted visitor was carrying passengers of its own.

"When our inspector tapped the shell, a number of eggs fell out. We could have had a whole family take residence in Auckland if there hadn't been border controls in place," Mr Hughes.

The beast was banned from New Zealand because of its destructive tendencies.

In addition to animals, their byproducts have also caused border security some headaches.

An Indian woman who tried to bring cow urine into the country in October last year was fined $400 for not declaring it.

Bottles of cow urine intercepted at Wellington International Airport. Photo / Primary Industries Twitter
Bottles of cow urine intercepted at Wellington International Airport. Photo / Primary Industries Twitter

The urine was found at Wellington airport in September after an x-ray of the woman's bag made customs staff suspicious.

The woman intended to use the urine for medicinal purposes. Cows are considered sacred in India.

- NZ Herald

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