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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    “It tried to eat me.” The Cairns boarding school student who escaped from the jaws of a Cape York python.

    A teenager is recovering from hundreds of bite marks after a nocturnal attack by a three metre carpet python on Cape York.

    Ryan Jackson, a boarder at St Augustine’s College, was home at Wolverton Station for the holidays last week, when he awoke to find the snake with its jaws around his hand.

    “It sank its teeth into me and it tried to eat me and it was wrapping its body around my arm.

    “I screamed for mum and dad,” he told Tropic Now.

    His mother, Emma Jackson, said she knew straight away the screams were serious.

    “So I flew into his room and this snake is coiled around his arm.

    “And his father Neville and I are saying, ‘where’s the head, where’s the head?’

    “Then we realised the snake was actually biting his hand and trying to inch its way up.”

    Ms Jackson told Tropic Now the power of the snake was unbelievable and getting it off her son, proved extremely difficult.

    "The more we wrestled with it the more it would move its head up,” she said.

    “It just kept digging its teeth in – they’ve got about 300 teeth.

    “At one point Neville just said, ‘I can’t get it off.’ 

    “We couldn’t kill it, you know, we couldn’t shoot it, or stab it or throw boiling water over it because we didn’t want to hurt Ryan any further.”

    She said a money box within arm’s reach in Ryan’s room, eventually did the trick.

    “The kids have all got a playtpus money box from the Commonwealth Bank and it has a good strong beak and it was the perfect size.

    “We just wedged the beak in and managed to pry the bottom jaw down, and get all the teeth out before finally we managed to get its head off,” she said.

    The snake was taken outside and killed.

    Ryan said the experience was horrifying.

    “I think I was still in shock when they took it outside.

    “It was a little traumatic.”

    The Royal Flying Doctor Service flew the 14 year-old to Cairns Hospital for treatment, where he was put under observation, had blood tests, and had his wounds inspected.

    “I’ve got about a hundred bite marks – maybe more, because it bit me a few times on the top of my hand,” Ryan said.

    His mother said the incident is a reminder of the dangers of wild animals.

    “We’ve had the odd snake come in but never go for a child.

    “If it had got Trixie, who’s four years old and petite, she wouldn’t have stood a chance,” she said.

    “It’s like the dingo story, it is possible.”

    It follows a similar incident in October, when a toddler was rescued from the stranglehold of a python at his home in Julatten, west of Port Douglas.

    Cairns snake catcher Matt Hagan told Tropic Now it’s likely the latest incident was a case of mistaken identity, given Ryan’s age and size.

    “They can detect heat, it might have thought the hand was a small animal.

    “Once they latch on, the instinct kicks in and they constrict,” he said.

    “There’s a method to getting them off but their power can be quite shocking, it’s confronting.”

    “It’s never pretty.“