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Posted by W von Papinešu on March 03, 2003 at 17:53:00:
THE AUSTRALIAN (Sydney) 03 March 03 Snakes found in videotape
A pair of deadly rattlesnakes mailed from Sweden to Australia inside a video cassette were detected at Melbourne's international mail centre.
The two snakes, which were addressed for country Victoria, were picked up by an X-ray machine, a spokesman for the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) said today.
Routine surveillance of the parcel revealed two suspicious images wound loosely around the videotape spools, the spokesman said.
A quarantine officer suspected the images may be snakes and the parcel was opened under supervision of a Department of Sustainability and Environment officer.
The snakes, which were estimated to be one to two years old and about 40cm long, were each wrapped in a black stocking and one had died.
The AQIS spokesman said exotic snakes were a high quarantine risk as they could carry diseases or parasites which native Australian reptiles had no immunity against.