The 10-foot-long python was spotted on the tail assembly of a Qantas Airways plane traveling from Cairns, Australia, to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Passengers spotted it early in the flight and alerted the crew; all watched as it first hid from the wind, then was buffeted against the aircraft’s tail multiple times.
A herpetologist from the University of Sydney, reviewing a video taken by a passenger, said, “There’s no way it could be anything else. They’re common in north Queensland. They’re ambush predators and if there are rodents anywhere nearby, they’ll most likely be in the vicinity. They often find their way into tight ceiling spaces in houses, although I’ve never heard of one on a plane until now.”
The President of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association told the Sydney Morning Herald that the snake likely crawled into the plane’s landing bay and found its way to the tail from there.
The snake stayed on the tail for the entire flight. It was alive when the plane landed, but eventually succumbed to its wounds and died.