A Brisbane family's Easter camping trip ended in terror when nine-year-old Gabby Pettigrew woke in the tent with a 2.5m python tightly wrapped around her arm.
Pandemonium broke out at 5am in the Moreton Island campsite as the schoolgirl let out a muffled "help me". So scared of spooking the massive reptile that was weighing down her small body, Gabby was frozen in shock.
"She was pure white but amazingly calm and collected. When the whole family realised what was going on a bit of panic set in. The other families heard the commotion. The snake was so heavy that Gabby couldn't get up," dad Simon said, the Courier Mail reports.
"The snake was well and truly strapped on to her. The more we tried to release it the more it constricted. It sunk its teeth into her arm. She must have been in a lot of pain but stayed still. I was unsure of what to do so I just grabbed it by the mouth and pulled its jaws apart. Eventually it came free and we let it loose back into the environment," Mr Pettigrew said.
The Coastguard took Gabby and her dad to the mainland and they were treated at Redcliffe Hospital. Both suffered bites. While the Pettigrew family of five cut short their holiday and returned home to Brisbane after the confronting incident, they have not ruled out further camping trips.
"Gabby is very resilient. We camp often and are very aware that we were in the snake's backyard. This shouldn't put people off going camping," Mr Pettigrew said.
Gabby is recovering well and has quite a show-and-tell for school after the holidays.
There were 313 suspected snake bites from January to the end of March in the state, an average of three people a day.
- The Courier Mail