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'Risky' detail exposed in footage of girl rescuing pet from snake

Rosie Wightman, 12, swung the animals in the air in an attempt to free her pet guinea pig from the snake.

Most people don't run towards a snake when they encounter one in their backyard but that's exactly what Rosie Wightman did when she realised her pet's life was at risk.

The 12-year-old was searching for her guinea pig at her Sunshine Coast home when she found a carpet python with its jaws around her pet named MaxiBon on Sunday evening. In a desperate attempt to save him, she grabbed the tail of the snake and began to spin around on the lawn, with the two animals swinging through the air in the process.

"[I] didn’t even think it through. I was just like, ‘grab the snake, grab the snake’,” Rosie told 7News.

Rosie Wightman saves her guinea pig from a snake by swinging the animals in the air on her backyard in the Sunshine Coast, with her black pet dog watching on.
Rosie Wightman from the Sunshine Coast saved her guinea pig from a snake by swinging the animals in the air. Source: Kip Wightman

Her dad Luke quickly intervened after hearing her screams and the two animals were separated — both flung to opposite sides of the yard. It is believed both MaxiBon and the carpet python were unharmed by the turn of events.

'Risky' behaviour caused animal encounter, snake catcher says

The family's home security camera captured the entire encounter and the footage was uploaded online by her uncle, Brisbane radio host Kip Wightman.

Rosie was widely commended for being "brave" and saving the guinea pig's life, however, among the praise a snake catcher has stressed how easily the story could have had a different ending — and warned others against similar behaviour.

"You've got about 20 species of snakes on the Sunshine Coast and the most common is the carpet python from the video... but it could have easily been a brown snake," Mathew Hampton told Yahoo News Australia, referring to the highly venomous eastern brown snakes known to "frequent" Queensland backyards. "It's definitely risky to grab a snake without thinking or knowing what it is... it was very dangerous."

The snake catcher believes the animal encounter could have been easily avoided if only the guinea pig was not allowed to roam the outdoor area unsupervised, which likely would have enticed the snake.

He did acknowledge that the 12-year old's "instincts took over" and she did a "great job" of saving her pet but warned the video shouldn't be held up as an example of what others should do if they find themselves in the same situation.

"You've got an innocent native animal drawn into a backyard because of what is preventable behaviour," he said. "It's not ideal."

'Good opportunity' to reduce likelihood of snake encounters

Hampton discouraged pet owners from allowing their pets to roam in outdoor areas unsupervised, especially in areas where snakes are prevalent. "Scent trails" entice snakes to move into territory where they are unwanted and cause distressing situations like these to happen, often putting pets and owners at risk.

"Take this as a good opportunity to remove food sources for snakes and attractors for snakes. It removes a really good chance of them [residents] never having a negative snake encounter," he explained. "Guinea pigs are basically like a steak dinner for carpet pythons."

Removing shrubs, cutting long grass short and checking sheds are snake-free are all other methods pet owners can adopt to minimise the chance of snakes.

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