When musician Indy Davies saw a man swimming with his pet snake in an Australian creek, he did what anyone in that position would have done: he filmed it and posted it to Instagram.
“I really hope he doesn’t get pulled up for animal cruelty — I’ve never seen [the snake] swim back to him like that,” Davies said at the time, adding. “It was incredible — the snake kept coming back to him, like, all day.”
Davies’ words were unfortunately prophetic: The as-yet-unidentified man is being investigated on a potential charge of animal cruelty.
“It is cruel, but it’s also gross stupidity rather than deliberate animal cruelty,” Michael Beatty, a spokesman for RSPCA Queensland, told ABC Gold Coast. “I’m sure the person concerned basically believes he loves his snake.”
Although Davies said that every time the man threw the snake, it would swim right back to him, reptile experts told the RSPCA that wasn’t exactly a sign that the snake was having fun.
“That snake would just be trying to get out of the water as quickly as possible and [the man] is its means of just getting out of the water,” Beatty explained.
In Australia, snake owners are required to have a license, one that allows them to have a pet snake, but it does not let them take the snake out of the house — not even for a beach day. Beatty says that the man is most likely in violation of that license as well.
Although many news outlets reported the incident as a “Meanwhile, in Australia…” kind of thing, some reptile lovers were immediately appalled by the man’s behavior. Many of the commenters on Davies’ Instagram post expressed their concern for the snake, pointing out that the snake could’ve been traumatized by the incident.
“Forgive the ignorance here. Apparently the snake has now been rescued,” Davies later added in a comment. “I hope that this video is only viewed as an example of someone doing the wrong thing.”