An Australian man had the misfortune of buying a package of plastic-wrapped lettuce from the grocery store that contained a venomous snake, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.
Alex White first believed the snake was a large worm until he saw it flick its forked tongue, according to the AP. “I kind of completely freaked out when I saw this little tongue come out of its mouth and start flicking around and realized it was a snake because worms don’t have tongues,” White said, according to the AP.
Snakes and lettuce: Australian couple find venomous snake in their Aldi fresh produce https://t.co/gZ6QroO3bt
— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) April 14, 2021
When White and his partner Amelia Neate unpacked the lettuce on the kitchen table Monday evening, they saw the snake squirming around. The couple quickly found a plastic food storage container and put the reptile inside, the AP reported.
“I definitely kind of panicked a bit,” White admitted, according to the AP.
Authorities believe the snake, identified as a venomous pale-headed snake, traveled 540 miles from a packing plant in Toowoomba, Australia, to Sydney with the lettuce, the AP reported.
Upon discovering the snake, White called the WIRES rescue organization. White claimed the rescue told him, “If you get bitten, you’ve got to go to hospital really quickly,” and dispatched a snake handler right away, according to the AP.
WIRES reptile coordinator Gary Pattinson said the snake was a juvenile and less than 8 inches long, adding the snake is “as venomous as it will ever be,” the AP reported.
“It’s the first snake I’ve ever had in sealed, packed produce,” Pattinson told the Associated Press. “We get frogs in them all the time,” Pattinson said, according to the AP. (RELATED: Arsonist Says She Lit Fires To Get Rid Of Snakes)
The AP reported that ALDI, a German-based supermarket chain, is investigating the matter. The chain reportedly released a statement, saying, “We’ve worked with the customer and the team at WIRES to identify the snake’s natural habitat, which is certainly not an ALDI store!”