Australian snake enthusiast Higor Fiuza and his bredli carpet python, Shiva, recently rose to local fame when a video of their wave-riding adventures went viral.
However, their newfound popularity also brought them under the scrutiny of wildlife protection authorities.
Officials argue that Fiuza placed Shiva at risk and violated his permit for keeping the snake by exposing her to public attention.
Following Fiuza’s media appearances, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science launched an investigation into this unconventional surfing duo.
As a result, this week, they imposed a fine of A$2,322 (£1,207; $1,495) on him. Wildlife officer Jonathan McDonald stressed that taking native animals into the public eye can lead to unnecessary stress and unpredictable behaviour.
He pointed out that while snakes can swim, reptiles generally prefer to steer clear of water. McDonald also noted that the water was likely too cold for the python, emphasizing that sea snakes are the only snakes suited for ocean life.
Furthermore, the incident raised concerns about public safety and the possibility of the python transmitting diseases to local wildlife.
Fiuza countered these worries, asserting that Shiva genuinely enjoys being in the water and has surfed with him on multiple occasions.
He described her as consistently calm in the water, in stark contrast to her usual hissing behaviour when confronted with something she dislikes.
Interestingly, Shiva isn’t the first animal to achieve surfing stardom at Rainbow Bay.
There’s a duck aptly named Duck, who frequents the waves and has even been seen riding them ahead of Australian surfing champion Steph Gilmore.