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Python Swallows Kitchen Tongs, Needs Surgery

15/05/2015 13:57 BST | Updated 15/05/2015 13:59 BST

A peckish python is recovering in hospital after swallowing a pair of BBQ tongs his owner was using to feed him a rat.

Australian owner Aaron Rouse quickly sought help from the University of Adelaide when he became worried Winston the woma python would not be able to regurgitate the cooking implements.

Dr. Oliver Funnell performed surgery to remove the tongs. "We were able to remove them quite easily once we got the big end out," he said.

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"He said the snake had swallowed some tongs and initially I was imagining some small forceps or tweezers or something like that," Dr Funnell told 891 ABC Adelaide.

"When Aaron arrived, the snake was in a box and I said, 'Are you sure he swallowed the tongs?' and Aaron just laughed because when you opened the box it was obvious what the problem was.

"You could basically see the shape of the tongs, and there's a small clip that you slide forward to lock them and you could actually see the outline of that through the snake. You could even see the bumps on the end of the tongs."

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"Snakes do have an ability to regurgitate food if they change their mind, but I was not sure if Winston was going to be able to regurgitate these (tongs) even if he tried," Dr Funnell added.

"These are made out of a pressed metal, the edges are relatively sharp.

"(I decided) endoscopy was probably not a way to go because dragging the tongs out could have caused (internal) damage. The only sensible option was to do surgery.

"With reptiles you have to make an incision between the scales and we just made it over the big end (of the tongs) because that was further away from some of the vital organs like the heart and the lungs.

"The clip was at the other end so these tongs would have been trying to expand the whole time, which would have been quite uncomfortable.

"We were able to remove them quite easily once we got the big end out."

Winston is said to be recovering well.

"We won't feed him for two to four weeks but the incisions are healing nicely," Dr Funnell said.

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