A small pencil-sized snake caused more than enough trouble to write home about Sunday night (Sept. 22), when it was found just inside the doorway of a Tokyo-bound Boeing 747-400 in Sydney's airport, according to news reports. The snake, which measured 8 inches (20 centimeters) long, was identified as a Mandarin ratsnake, an Asian species that is non-venomous, Agence France-Presse reported.
Quite a rattling over a little snake, it would seem; hundreds of passengers had to wait until the next day to fly.
But we may forgive Australians for being a little cautious when it comes to snakes — the country is home to 20 of the world's 25 most venomous species, AFP noted. The airline, Qantas, had another snake incident in January when a python was sighted crawling on the wing mid-flight. "The python had been tucked into the plane's wing before takeoff, and amazed passengers watched from the window as it engaged in a life-or-death struggle to maintain its grip in fierce winds and zero temperatures," AFP reported. When the flight landed, the snake was dead.