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Snake On a Plane Grounds Australian Flight

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.

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Douglas Main
Douglas Main loves the weird and wonderful world of science, digging into amazing Planet Earth discoveries and wacky animal findings (from marsupials mating themselves to death to zombie worms to tear-drinking butterflies) for Live Science. Follow Doug on Google+.