Ben and Olivia, NSW

I am a long-time volunteer of Sydney Wildlife and about 10 years ago, one of our fellow wildlife rescuers was called out to relocate a ‘very large’ snake from someone’s living room in Sydney. Upon arrival at the house, they quickly realised this was not a local species of python and was, in fact, a large Olive Python – the second longest species of python in Australia, native to north Queensland and Northern Territory.

Having randomly turned up in somebody’s house meant it was likely the snake was an escaped pet or had been released. She was very thin, suggesting she may have been out roaming around for some time and go into the house in search of food – potentially the family cat!

Ben and his pet snake Olivia. Photo: supplied

Ben and his pet snake Olivia. Photo: supplied

We were unable to locate the original owners of the snake, so I volunteered to adopt her and give her a loving home.  I have loved reptiles for as long as I can remember. My parents bought me my first pet snake when I was 6 years old, so I already had a decent collection of pet snakes at home. I fell in love with Olivia as soon as I met her. She was such a large snake but had such a gentle and sweet nature. She was a ‘gentle giant’ and I wanted to make sure she had a good home to go to.

Olivia has provided me amazing companionship over the years. She is such a gentle soul and after a stressful day at work, I love nothing more than getting her out for a stretch in the sun. I have many pet snakes and have worked with thousands of snakes over the years, but Olivia would have to be one of my all-time favourites.

I am so happy Olivia has a second chance at life and I have been able to give her a great home. Because Olive Pythons are not native to Sydney, it is unlikely that she would have survived a winter in Sydney as these snakes cannot tolerate our cold temperatures down here. Olivia now lives a great life in a large, temperature-controlled enclosure. She gets spoilt with a large rabbit once every three weeks and gets to come out and relax in the sun at least once a week. She is one very lucky and spoilt snake.

I am grateful that Olivia has also assisted me in spreading my message of conservation and wildlife protection. I have taken Olivia out to many schools and community groups, using her as an ‘education animal’ to help inspire and educate others about our amazing native reptiles and wildlife.

How wonderful her story can be used to educate others about responsible pet ownership and the importance of protecting all wildlife, especially those that are less ‘popular’ such as snakes.

Message to rescue

I think it takes a very special person to dedicate themselves to helping animals in need. It takes compassion, love, and a caring heart. All animals deserve respect, love and a forever home and sadly not all animals have these things. Whether it’s an abandoned dog, unwanted cat, rescued reptile or lost bird they all deserve a second chance.

I have a deep respect and appreciation for the many dedicated and passionate volunteers who work tirelessly to find homes for unwanted or neglected animals.

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