SOUTH Grafton WIRES snake wrangler Paul Jones has already released a 3m carpet python he captured in See Park, Grafton, on Christmas Eve back into the wild.
Mr Jones, whose love affair with snakes included keeping a pet carpet python, Jacqueline, for 25 years, was impressed with the specimen he wrestled into a cat cage about 10pm.
"He's a beauty, isn't he?" Mr Jones said when he caught sight of the snake slipping through the grass on the side of the road near Bacon St.
He estimated the python could be between five and 10 years old.
"It's hard to say; they keep growing through their lives and they grow faster when conditions are better," he said yesterday.
"They stay quite skinny up until they get to the 3m length, then they thicken up their girth to allow them to tackle bigger prey."
Mr Jones said this snake could eat a cat, small dog or a chicken.
Although an impressive specimen, Mr Jones said carpet snakes could get much bigger.
"Years ago a mate down Kempsey way caught one he measured to be 22 feet long (6.7m)," he said.
"He released it back into the wild, but had to keep the location a secret so people wouldn't go hunting it."
He said this snake had probably moved into the park, catching the birds, rats and mice that lived there.
Mr Jones said his pet carpet snake, Jacqueline, had died last year.
"I thought they lived longer than that, but it may have been she ate something that might have killed her," he said.
"She was lovely and quiet and didn't bite.
"A little girl across the road used to come over and ask to play with her.
"You just had to make sure she didn't get around your neck - she could cuddle a bit tight."
Christmas Eve was a busy time for Mr Jones as earlier in the day he had been called into the government office block in Grafton to remove a black snake that had entered the building.