Python swallows golf balls

Callaway was operated on after he swallowed golf balls that he believed to be eggs.
Callaway was operated on after he swallowed golf balls that he believed to be eggs. John Gass

IT'S been five years since the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital has treated a golf-ball-swallowing snake.

The latest victim, aptly nicknamed Callaway by medical staff, was found confusing the dimpled white balls for eggs in Kyogle.

Senior vet Michael Pyne said chicken owners often placed golf balls under broody chickens in place of eggs they wished to eat.

"You've got to give them something to sit on, and I believe there's even dummy eggs out there for just such a purpose," Mr Pyne said.

"For snakes, because they smell like chicken, they must be an egg.

"Their eyesight is well down in their order of senses, so if it's warm and smells like a chicken they'll eat it."

The previous snake with the same problem earned the hospital $1500 after the story went "viral" internationally, Dr Pyne said, and someone offered the money to buy the balls.

"But he didn't take them, and instead gave us the money as a donation.

"We still have the balls that snake ate.

"I still remember it clearly, and it's not common but it does happen."

Callaway - besides being a golf brand - is a coastal carpet python and has been operated on to remove the balls.

Dr Pyne said snakes had an incredible ability to swallow objects as they could dislocate their jaws, but they could not necessarily digest everything they eat.

"I wouldn't like to pass a golf ball," he said.

Topics:  golf snake surgery wildlife

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