A man who gained widespread attention for his viral video showing him surfing alongside his pet python has been hit with a hefty fine of over 2,000 Australian dollars for taking his reptile companion into public spaces.
Higor Fiuza, hailing from the Gold Coast in Australia, had become a familiar sight at Rainbow Bay, where he had taken his morelia bredli python named Shiva on the waves approximately ten times, as reported by Australian news outlets.
Following the dissemination of his surfing adventures across the internet, Mr. Fiuza shared his insights with 9News, stating, “The snake takes a dip and then returns to the board, casually awaiting the perfect wave, just cruising along.”
According to Mr. Fiuza, Shiva seemed to relish her aquatic outings, exhibiting a complete absence of hissing, which she would usually do when irritated.
However, this public display of surfing serpentine prowess raised concerns among wildlife officers from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science after they viewed the video.
Jonathan McDonald, one of these officers, elaborated, saying, “Snakes are naturally cold-blooded creatures, and while they can swim, reptiles generally prefer to avoid water. The python would have found the water temperature to be extremely chilly, and the only snakes suitable for ocean habitats are sea snakes.”
While Mr. Fiuza did possess the appropriate permit to house the snake, he lacked the requisite permission to transport it away from his residence.
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science ultimately imposed a fine of 2,322 Australian dollars (£1,207) on Mr. Fiuza for the unauthorized public presence of the reptile.
@couriermail A Gold Coast surfer has taken his pet python out for a spin on his surf board. #goldcoast #queensland #thisisqueensland #snake #surfing ♬ original sound – couriermail
Mr. McDonald emphasized, “We became aware of this individual when he garnered media attention for taking his python into the surf. We do not endorse permit holders displaying their native animals in public unless it serves a specific approved purpose and is conducted in a manner that optimally safeguards the animal’s welfare, public safety, and adherence to relevant regulations. Taking native pets into public settings can induce unnecessary stress in the animals and may lead to unpredictable behavior when removed from their enclosures.”