EXCLUSIVE: Boy tells of snake wrestling drama
AGNES Water teenager Oli Wardrope isn't sure what all the fuss is about.
"I pulled a massive carpet python out of a car this morning," he told his friends, matter of factly, when he got to school last week.
Those words and the 14-year-old boy's slippery python rescue video has now gone viral.
Although wrangling pythons is not on the top of most people's bucket lists, especially not before they have had their Weet-Bix, it didn't phase Oli, who said all he wanted was for the snake to be safe.
He had just woken up and was getting ready for school when he heard the call for help. The young snake lover had no hesitation in diving underneath the car to rescue the carpet python tucked underneath a friend's ute.
"I just didn't want (the snake) to get hurt; if it didn't come out the car before the car started, it would have got burnt," Oli told The Observer.
"I just wanted it out so no harm came to it and I still made it (to school) in time."
The delicate procedure took about 10 to 15 minutes and Oli said the chance of the situation turning ugly did not cross his mind.
"It was pretty deep under the car," he said.
"I just thought it had to come out, it couldn't stay there. (The ute) was a bad place for it."
After a friend had stopped his car to let the snake cross the road, Oli said it had slithered up underneath so he drove to Oli's house for his help.
"They were too scared to touch it, so I got under and pulled it out," he said.
Having been around snakes since his was five, Oli used to have a spotted python a few years ago because the misunderstood creatures fascinated him.
"I had a bit of an idea of what I was doing ... I've picked up tree snakes and used to have my own snake," he said.
The python was relocated a few kilometres from the house by neighbours and although Oli was prepared in rescuing the python (which he said was about average sized and was still growing), the young student was not prepared for the viral reaction the video created.
The videoon Facebook was viewed across the globe on major news platforms, including the BBC and was translated into several languages, including French, Spanish and Vietnamese.
"I didn't expect it to go viral," Oli said. "It's a bit overwhelming but it feels good I guess."
But don't call him a hero, the modest Oli doesn't want to be referred to as a young Crocodile Hunter or budding Steve Irwin.
"I used to love Steven Irwin, but I wish they wouldn't," he said.
With a passion for making surfboards and surf photography, Oli said while he loved snakes, surfing is what he wanted to do for now.
See the video at gladstoneobserver.com.au