Vet nurse massages tennis ball out of snake's mouth in viral video

We all have instances where our eyes are bigger than our stomachs -- but this carpet python had to call in reinforcements this time.

The 1.5-meter long snake swallowed a tennis ball; vets believe that he swallowed it within 24 hours of being found in a backyard in Townsville, Australia.

Snake handler and vet nurse Trish Prendergast massaged the ball out of its mouth -- and it was all caught on camera:

According to Prendergast, the snake would have starved if the ball did not come out. "[The ball] may have broken down over ... 12-18 months," she said, "But in the meantime, the snake would not have been able to eat any items."

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Snake saved from choking on tennis ball
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Snake saved from choking on tennis ball
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The procedure took 30 minutes to complete, because Prendergast had to be gentle. If she was too forceful, she would've broken the snake's ribs. "There are also major organs in there, so you want to make sure when you're squeezing and manipulating it you're not putting too much pressure on it," she said.

The snake may have eaten the ball because it smelled like prey. "It wouldn't eat it for the sake of it," she said. This is Prendergast's first tennis ball removal, but she has removed plastic eggs and golf balls before.

After the removal, the vet nurse fed him a better lunch. "It just ate a rat, I just put it back in a cage and its all happy and fat," she said. The python will remain in recovery for a week and then be released back into the wild.

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