DUBAI: A Saudi passenger carried four snakes including a python in his hand luggage in an eight hour flight between Indonesia and UAE, with most of his fellow travellers blissfully unaware of the danger.
The man was arrested at Abu Dhabi International airport security checkpoint when his Etihad Airlines flight landed from Jakarta last Thursday, police said. His menagerie included four snakes, two parrots and a squirrel inside a box, Abu Dhabi airport police said the animals were not licensed for international transport.
“Carrying animals on board is strictly prohibited and in this case other passengers were at risk,” Mr Khamis al Marar, the Director General of Security told the paper. He said the animals could be transported only in specially designed boxes which had to be stored in the aircraft’s hold.
Though, the authorities did not identify the species of the snakes being carried, a Dubai paper said they appeared to be pythons, but non-venomous.
Abu Dhabi airport officials said it was unclear how the passenger had cleared the security at Jakarta.
But, it is not the first time that Abu Dhabi customs have been exposed to dangerous animals.
‘The National’ said in August last year a baby lizard caused panic on a flight from Cairo after it was found wandering along the aircraft aisle, having worked its way free of the bag in which it had been smuggled.
Some animal traffickers go even further. A man was arrested in February last year after flying from Dubai to Melbourne with two live pigeons stuffed inside his pants.