Gold Coast Man Fined for Taking Pet Snake Surfing; Wildlife Authorities Cite Endangerment


A Gold Coast resident, Higor Fiuza, who captured a viral video of himself and his bredli carpet python, Shiva, catching waves, has incurred a fine from Australian wildlife authorities. The clip, which gained widespread attention earlier this month, propelled Fiuza and Shiva into local stardom. However, this newfound fame also alerted wildlife protection officers to the potential endangerment of the snake.

Officials argue that Fiuza put Shiva at risk and violated his permit for possessing the snake by showcasing her in a public setting. The Department of Environment and Science in Queensland initiated an inquiry into the surfing pair following Mr. Fiuza's media appearances. This week, they issued a fine of A$2,322 (£1,207; $1,495).

According to wildlife officer Jonathan McDonald, parading native pets in public can subject them to "unnecessary stress" and might lead them to "exhibit unpredictable behavior." He emphasized that while snakes can swim, they usually avoid water. In the case of the python, the water would have been exceptionally cold, as "snakes are obviously cold-blooded animals," he stated. McDonald noted that the only snakes suitable for ocean habitats are sea snakes.

The incident also raised concerns about public safety and the potential for the python to transmit diseases to native wildlife, McDonald added.

Yet, Fiuza has previously attested to Shiva's affinity for water. He disclosed to local media that Shiva has joined him in the surf on at least ten occasions. "I always took her to the beach, and she loved to be in the water swimming, so one day I decided to take her out for a surf, and she loved it," Fiuza conveyed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He further pointed out that Shiva remains remarkably composed, as she refrains from hissing, even in the water.

In an interesting twist, Shiva isn't the only creature at Rainbow Bay to achieve notoriety for surfing. A duck, fittingly named Duck, is a regular at the surf spot and has even been known to compete for waves with Australian surfing champion Steph Gilmore.