Image: Dept of Agriculture and Water Resources
Australian Border Force officers got more than they bargained for when x-raying an international consignment of mail from northern Europe.
In a box marked '2 pair shoes' was not two pairs of shoes, but a deadly combination of reptiles and arachnids including six venomous vipers.
Inside the box included:
3 x ball pythons (royal pythons)
2 x hognose snakes
6 x vipers native to South-East Asia
2 x Colombian giant tarantulas
5 x Mexican redknee tarantulas
2 x Brazilian salmon pink tarantulas— considered to be the third-largest tarantula in the world
4 x Asian forest scorpions
The consignment arrived in Melbourne on 14 March with all the vipers, scorpions and some of the spiders already dead.
All the live animals were euthanised by a veterinary officer while an investigation is underway into the arrival of the exotic reptiles and arachnids.