Let’s say you’re grabbing ingredients at the grocery store for a quick weeknight dinner. You’re browsing the spice aisle, when something rattles the bottles from behind. A head slowly pokes out—a snake!—then extends outward and starts slithering down off the shelf, looking at you the entire time. How exactly do you respond? (And do you think there’s any chance you’ll still be cooking dinner later, or is this looking more like a takeout night?)
This is what happened to Helaina Alati in Sydney, Australia—but as CNN reports, for her, it was no big deal. For most people, I imagine this would be at the very least a jarring experience (if not absolutely traumatizing), but Alati is no typical grocery shopper: She’s a trained snake handler. What an absolutely perfect coincidence.
Alati told CNN, “I was browsing through the spice aisle, and just looking for something to put on my dinner that night, and the face of the 10-foot python just kind of poked out next to me. He didn’t really spook me out at all, he wasn’t coming off as aggressive.”
Alati quickly identified the snake as being a non-venomous diamond python and ran home to get her snake bag. You know, the snake bag you probably just have lying around at your house too. The grocery store shut down the aisle while they waited for her return, and once she came back, she bagged the creature.
“He was really easy to catch, diamond pythons often are. I pretty much just held the bag in front of him and gave him a tap on the tail, and he just slithered into the bag himself,” Alati said. “And then that afternoon I just took him into some local bushland, away from roads and houses where he could live a more suitable lifestyle.” She took video of the whole experience, which CNN posted, and it shows the snake casually slithering out of the bag into the underbrush as it scopes out its new home.
What do you think made the grocery store an attractive destination for the python in the first place? Maybe the snake just there to find some seasoning for its next meal, just like Alati. What do you suppose a diamond python would sprinkle on its lunch? My money’s on Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.