Officials at Auckland Airport were greeted with a live snake that hitchhiked to New Zealand on a private plane this weekend.
The snake was spotted on the tarmac at Auckland Airport on Sunday. It was initially contained with a bucket by airport staff before being taken by Biosecurity staff.
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Craig Hughes, a manager at the Minister for Primary Industries (MPI), said: "A Ministry for Primary Industries snake handler was quickly on the scene and managed to capture the unwanted stowaway."
The snake has yet to be identified, although it is likely to be a brown tree snake. This species is not regarded as particularly dangerous to humans, but could severely harm New Zealand's native bird population, said Mr Hughes.
"It appears the snake had crawled into the wheel housing of a private jet that arrived from Brisbane," he explained.
Mr Hughes said MPI staff searched the plane and tarmac area, but found no sign of any other snakes.
He added: "This is clearly a one-off hitchhiker."
He said the snake was in a poor condition when captured, but still alive. It is likely to be euthanised after consultation with the Department of Conservation.
"We don't have a snake population in New Zealand. Biosecurity officials are doing their best to make sure it stays that way," said Mr Hughes.