Australia’s Higor Fiuza bitten by law for surfing with pet python around his neck

An image of Higor Fiuza taking to the beach with his pet bredli carpet python, Shiva — Instagram/Files

Higor Fiuza, an Australian citizen, and his carpet python, Shiva, gained local fame earlier this month when a video of them riding waves went viral; however, their newfound stardom also brought them under the scrutiny of wildlife protection authorities. 

Officials contend that Fiuza put Shiva at risk and violated his permit for keeping the snake by exposing her to the public eye.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science initiated an investigation into this surfing pair after Fiuza’s media appearances. 

Subsequently, this week, they issued him a fine of $2,322 (£1,207; $1,495). 

Wildlife officer Jonathan McDonald emphasised that taking native animals out in public can cause undue stress and lead to unpredictable behaviour. 

He noted that, while snakes can swim, reptiles generally prefer to avoid water. 

The python likely found the water excessively cold, and sea snakes are the only snakes that should inhabit the ocean, according to McDonald.

Moreover, the incident raised concerns about public safety and the potential for the python to spread diseases to local wildlife. 

Fiuza, however, countered these concerns, asserting that Shiva enjoys being in the water and has surfed with him on numerous occasions. 

He described her as always calm in the water, not displaying her usual hissing behaviour when faced with something she dislikes.

Notably, Shiva is not the first animal to attain surfing stardom at Rainbow Bay.

A duck, fittingly named Duck, is a regular surfer there and has even been known to catch waves ahead of Australian surfing champion Steph Gilmore.

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