An Austrian had an unpleasant and unusual surprise on Monday morning when a snake bit his genitals while going to the toilet.
The 65-year-old victim felt “a ‘fit’ in the genitals” around 6 a.m. shortly after sitting on the toilet at her home in Graz, according to a press release from the local Austrian police. When the man looked in the toilet bowl to investigate, he saw an albino python over 5 feet long staring at him.
The snake belonged to its 24-year-old neighbor, a reptile enthusiast whose apartment next door also contained 10 other snakes and a gecko. Police said it was not clear how the snake escaped from its terrarium, but that it “may have entered the toilet through the sewer system.”
The anonymous victim was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated for what were described as “minor injuries”. Pythons are not poisonous snakes, instead killing their prey by constriction. However, snakebites can be extremely painful and carry additional risks, as some animals can carry diseases.
Police called in reptile expert Werner Stangl to remove the snake after the bite incident. Stangl told the Austrian newspaper Kronen Journal that saving the snake from the toilet was a difficult task, especially taking care to avoid injuring the python.
Rescuers were told to leave the bathroom before the toilet rescue operation, fearing the vibrations could frighten the snake. The reptile attempted to resist Stangl by contracting his muscles and pressing against the toilet. It was eventually removed before being cleaned up and returned home.
Authorities are investigating the owner of the python, who was allegedly “shocked” by the incident, on potential charges of negligent assault. Although the decision has been made to return the snake to its owner, local veterinary authorities could possibly make a different decision.
News week has contacted the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC for comment and additional information.
Monday’s incident was far from the first time a snake had been discovered in a toilet bowl. Pythons have been implicated in multiple incidents, although reports of associated bites are rare.
Last month, the Tableland Snake Catchers company was called upon to withdraw a python who had taken up residence inside a toilet in a local in Queensland, Australia. It was quickly discovered that the snake had made its way into the toilet by entering an open inspection point near the house and moving through the pipes. No bites or other injuries were reported.
In March, a 45-year-old man in Thailand almost got bitten after sitting on the toilet and noticing something hitting his hindquarters, what he quickly discovered was due to a large python. A video posted online shows a rescuer pulling the snake from the toilet.
54-year-old woman in Thailand got bitten by a python that made its way into the toilet bowl of her house last October. After being released from a hospital where she was treated for the painful and bloody bite, Boonsong Plaikaew said she would “check the toilet every time before sitting down” from that point on.