When police in Australia raided a laboratory that was manufacturing crystal methamphetamine last year, they were probably expecting to find kilos of narcotics, piles of cash and drug making equipment. What they actually uncovered was something else. Along with all the things that were mentioned, they also found a 6-foot long jungle python that was displaying visible signs of addiction. The poor snake had apparently been absorbing fumes from the drug making process as well as other particles through its skin.
Extremely aggressive at first
Initially the snake was extremely aggressive, but after seven months of abstinence, the python has returned to normal behaviour under the care of 14 prisoners who are part of a programme that works on wildlife care. They python is just one of 250 animals that are being cared for at a minimum-security prison in Sydney. The prison also serves as home to a number of native Australian birds, wombats, possums, wallabies and kangaroos.
Prisoners taking care of animals
The John Morony Correctional Complex also houses several other reptiles that were seized during police raids. According to one of the officers at the Complex, some criminals resort to using poisonous snakes in order to keep their hidden stashes of drugs and guns protected. The jungle python whose name cannot be revealed for legal reasons will eventually be resettled with new owners after the court case against the alleged traffickers has been completed.
Wildlife programme helps rehabilitate prisoners
Ivan Calder who is governor of the prison said the wildlife programme has been running for nearly two decades and also helps to rehabilitate inmates. Mr Calder says what he sees with the men that are incarcerated at his facility is their approach to animals is what softens and humanises them. By giving inmates the opportunity to take care of the animals, it also provides a major agent for behaviour change.