Aaron Rouse of Adelaide, Australia, was feeding his pet python, Winston, a dead rat. Instead of swallowing just the rodent, Winston grabbed the barbecue tongs Rouse was using to deliver the rat as well.
Rouse left the tongs in the cage after Winston latched onto them and wouldn’t let go, but he was “dumbfounded” when he returned and discovered the tongs were lodged inside Winston’s stomach.
"Aaron said the snake had swallowed some tongs, and initially I was imagining some small forceps or tweezers or something like that,” said veterinary expert Dr. Oliver Funnell of Adelaide University. "When he arrived, the snake was in a box, and I said, 'Are you sure he swallowed the tongs?' and Aaron just laughed, because when you opened the box, it was obvious what the problem was.
"You could basically see the shape of the tongs, and there's a small clip that you slide forward to lock them and you could actually see the outline of that through the snake. You could even see the bumps on the end of the tongs.”
Snakes can regurgitate food, but Funnell said Winston probably couldn’t because of the tongs’ sharp edges.
Funnell decided to operate rather than try to pull the tongs out and risk causing internal damage. The procedure was delicate, but the tongs were removed successfully, and Winston is reportedly recovering.