A 10-year-old from Wellington was reportedly made to take off his T-shirt and turn it inside out before boarding a plane in South Africa because it depicted a snake.

Stevie Lucas was with his family on December 17 at the security gate at O.R. Thambo Airport when staff asked him to take off the offending T-shirt and put on another.

The offending tee was black, with a green snake picture draped over the shoulder. according to Netwerk 24.

The family was reportedly told nobody was allowed toys or rubber snakes on the flight.

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Stevie's mum, Marga Lucas, told him to turn his t-shirt inside out to avoid a confrontation with security officers, family spokesperson Kobus Rudolph told the media outlet.

The family had emailed the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) and was told the company was seeking more clarity on the reason for the clothing rule.

Stevie and his parents Marga and Steve were on holiday in Pretoria and were headed for George to visit grandparents.

Netwerk 24 reported he had inherited his love of snakes from his dad, and that they often visited pet stores to look at reptiles, spiders and bugs while in South Africa.

Airport spokeswoman Betty Maloka confirmed to Netwerk 24 that CCTV footage showed Stevie taking off his T-shirt and turning it inside out.

The security officer on duty had told Marga Lucas snake toys and prints were not allowed. Rules for prohibited items were set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Maloka said.

Security officers had the right to decide if an object could harm fellow passengers or crew by causing anxiety, she said.

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The offending T-shirt was turned inside out to avoid a confrontation with officials. Photo / Netwerk 24
The offending T-shirt was turned inside out to avoid a confrontation with officials. Photo / Netwerk 24