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Woman at Sydney grocery store greeted by a python at a spice shelf

A woman shopping at a grocery store ran into a python poking out from a supermarket shelf.

Helaina Alati, 25, was at a Sydney store on Monday when the 3 metre non-venomous snake slithered out.

The Woolworths supermarket lies on the edge of a large expanse of bushland on the city’s north- west outskirts.




But encountering a snake in the spice aisle is not what Ms Alati expected.

Fortunately for both parties, Ms Alati is a wildlife rescuer and familiar with snakes.

She did a double-take but remained calm. No one else was around.



Recognising it instantly as a diamond python, Ms Alati knew it wasn’t venomous as it protruded and flicked its tongue.

“He was looking straight at me the whole time, almost like he was saying: ‘Can you take me outside please?'” she said.

After filming the snake, Ms Alati alerted staff and said she could help them get it out.

She retrieved a snake bag from her home, returned to the store, “tapped him on the tail and he just slithered in”.

She then released it away from houses in bushland – a natural habitat for the species around Sydney.

Ms Alati said she suspected the snake had been in the shop overnight, probably initially in the ceiling where diamond pythons like to nestle.

It had probably lurked on the shelf all morning as “dozens of people… passed it and grabbed spices”, she added.