Guy Who Surfs With Pet Python Hit With a Fine

Wildlife authorities aren't pleased with Australia's Higor Fiuza and his snake, Shiva
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2023 12:21 PM CDT
See If You Can Spot This Guy's Odd Surfing Companion
Screenshot from video of a surfer and his snake.   (YouTube/New York Post)

Higor Fiuza is a familiar face in the beach community along Australia's Gold Coast, and he's often got Shiva in tow. Shiva isn't the name of his surfboard, or a canine companion—that's his pet Morelia bredli python, who accompanies Fiuza in the water as he catches some waves. "She goes for a swim a little and then comes back to the board—just cruising waiting for a wave, for the perfect wave," Fiuza told 9News earlier this month.

The New York Post has video of some of Fiuza and Shiva's oceanic adventures. Local wildlife authorities aren't pleased with the pair, however, and this week, Fiuza was hit with a nearly $1,500 fine, which appears to put his permit to keep the python in peril, per the BBC. Antics like Fiuza's could cause wild animals "unnecessary stress" and make them "behave in an unpredictable way," says Jonathan McDonald of Queensland's Department of Environment and Science, which conducted an investigation into what Fiuza was doing after seeing media reports about him.

"Snakes are obviously cold-blooded animals, and while they can swim, reptiles generally avoid water," McDonald notes. "The python would have found the water to be extremely cold, and the only snakes that should be in the ocean are sea snakes." McDonald adds that the python could also pose a danger to beachgoers and possibly spread disease to other wildlife. Fiuza told ABC Australia earlier this month that he's taken Shiva for surfing outings at least 10 times. "Usually when she doesn't like something she starts hissing, but she doesn't hiss [in the water]—she is always chill," he said. Fiuza says that when they're not surfing, Shiva spends her time slithering around his apartment or relaxing on his sofa. "[Some] people get really scared, but others think it's amazing when they see the connection between me and her." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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