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Snake On A Plane! Mandarin Rat Snake Grounds Tokyo-Bound Qantas Jet

23/09/2013 14:27 BST | Updated 23/11/2013 10:12 GMT

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A tiny snake "about the width of a pencil" is responsible for grounding a jet of 370 passengers.

While the eight-inch reptile didn't cause quite the same high octane scenes as his cold-blooded cousins in the Samuel L Jackson film Snakes On A Plane, it succeeded in raising the profile of the humble Mandarin Rat Snake.

The live specimen was found in the passenger cabin of a Qantas Boeing 747 in Sydney on Sunday night.

mandarin rat snake

Snake on a plane! A Mandarin Rat Snake (pictured) grounded the Qantas flight at Sydney on Sunday

The Tokyo-bound flight was cancelled and the plane was fumigated as a precaution, News.com.au reports.

Passengers were accommodated in a nearby hotel and the snake was euthanised.

The snake is believed to have arrived aboard the jet on a flight from Singapore a day earlier, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

samuel l jackson snakes on a plane

Samuel L Jackson poses with a snake at a premier for Snakes On A Plane

"The Department of Agriculture is looking into how the snake came to be on the plane, but isn't able to speculate at this time," it said in a statement.

Though the snake, which is only "mildly" venomous, did not pose a threat to humans, it had the potential to wreck "ecological havoc" in the Australian environment if it had escaped the plane with a mate, Canberra Reptile Zoo herpetologist Peter Child told the Associated Press.

It's not the airline's first "snake on a plane" moment - back in January passengers were stunned to notice a nine-foot Amethystine python attatched to the wing of a Qantas jet as it took off from Cairns.