A social media snake sale has sent animal authorities into a spin, with an island tiger snake offered up on a Buy, Swap and Sell page.
In advertising the reptile on the Facebook forum, a Perth woman said the venomous creature was left behind by her partner with whom she had parted ways.
There was a swift backlash to the post, with members of the online community reminding her the sale of protected wildlife in the state was illegal.
It eventually caught the attention of Bruce Press from Reptile Rescue Tasmania, who was contacted by the seller and arranged to pick up the snake on Tuesday morning.
After a brief stint in his care, it was handed over to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment for assessment.
Mr Press said the seller’s desperation to rid herself of the snake probably led to the post.
“What this lady really wanted was someone to take the snake off her hands, which I managed to do with permission from the government,” he said.
“She had mentioned that the snake was being aggressive, but that was because it was being overheated.
“Most people try to keep a snake warm without realising you don’t have to.
“She said there were two snakes in the tank three days ago, but that one had disappeared.”
The original post made mention of a male tiger snake, which the seller believed may have been eaten by the female.
Mr Press said this scenario was unlikely, given only a very small percentage of the species was cannibalistic.
“The only tiger snakes that are known to eat each other are from King Island, and even then, it is only part of the population,” he said.
“This snake is either from Trefoil Island or Dog Island, which are close to King Island.”
It is believed the snakes were bought into the state by mutton-birders. A spokesperson from DPIPWE said the department was still investigating the incident, but were not actively looking for the second snake.
“DPIPWE received reports today from the public that a tiger snake at Perth was being advertised for sale on an internet site,” the spokesperson said.
“Officers investigated the reports and the snake has been seized.”
“We don’t have information to indicate there is another snake on the loose.”
Penalties for selling protected wildlife can be fines of up to $15,900.