A hiker in Queensland, Australia was bitten in the head by a hanging python in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack on Monday.
Joey Zayne was on his way home from a swim with a friend at Behana Gorge in Cairns, far north Queensland, when the incident occurred.
“As we left and walked up the path, another pair pointed out the bush python hanging about 2.5 meters from the trees above the path [8 feet] long, we guess,” Zayne said news week. “I assume it was preparing to feed on bats.”
Zayne pulled out his camera and began photographing the dangling reptile. “I took some nice pictures and videos from a safe distance, [but] My friend told me that every time I put my camera down to check the footage, it got a little bit closer, so I decided to leave it alone,” he said.
As the two were about to leave, Zayne noticed that he couldn’t find the keys to his motorcycle. “I was going through my bag and then some rubbish fell off the rocks,” he said. “I went down to get it.”
On the way back up, Zayne forgot to keep an eye on the herpetological danger hanging from the tree. “[The snake] must have fallen a lot lower because it bit my face,” he said.
“It was incredibly fast, just a split-second contact… It seriously felt like someone had slapped me in the face.”
Zayne fell down the rocks but was able to catch himself on a tree. “I was just shocked,” he said. “There was absolutely no indication that it would do that, it just seemed curious.”
Zayne’s friend ran to see if he was safe and they went down to the water to wash out the wound.
“I realized it was bleeding a lot more than I expected,” Zayne said. “It spurted out of my head, maybe cut a vein or a small artery by the looks of it.”
In Australia, bush pythons are found in the humid forests of northern Queensland, according to Oakvale Wildlife Park. They are not poisonous, but their bites can still cause a lot of damage.
To get home, Zayne had to wrap his t-shirt inside his helmet around his head to stop the bleeding.
Zayne is no stranger to dangerous wildlife and has had numerous close encounters in the past. “[Usually] You just calmly walk away and give them space,” he said. “This one has decided to come closer. I think it caught my heat by hanging on the trees looking for bats.”
It is very unusual for snakes to attack humans without any provocation. But after Zayne posted about the incident at a local hiking group on Facebook, it quickly became clear that he wasn’t the only one being attacked by the python.
“My friend was also bitten in the head in the same place two weeks ago,” said one Facebook user.
The user went on to say that the friend only received a shallow bite mark with “not much blood.”