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Snake catchers rescue python covered in hundreds of ticks

The snake was caught with 511 parasitic ticks biting into its skin. Credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher/Facebook

Snake catchers in Australia have rescued a snake which was covered in more than 500 ticks.

The reptile - which is believed to be ill - was found in a garden swimming pool with 511 of the parasitic bugs biting into its skin.

The carpet python was caught in Coolangatta, Queensland, by Tony Harrison, who said he had never seen anything like it in his 26 years as a professional snake catcher.

“Here in Australia you often will see an animal, a dog or a cat, with one tick, but here is a snake that has 511 of them so it’s amazing they’re still in one piece,” the 51-year-old said.

Mr Harrison nicknamed the snake Old Nike in reference to the tick in sports brand Nike’s logo. Credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher/Facebook

“It was horrifying, because I’ve got a bit of a phobia of those ticks to start with.”

Mr Harrison said the snake, which he nicknamed Old Nike, was in the water of the pool in a bid to drown the ticks.

Old Nike is now recovering at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital where it was treated for blood loss and an infection caused by the parasites.

The snake is believed to have been trying to drown the ticks in the pool. Credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher/Facebook

Mr Harrison, who has played with snakes since he was six-years-old growing up in Sydney, says he has "nearly died three times" while on the job.

The snake catcher has been bitten by the Red-bellied black, Rough-scaled and Eastern brown breeds, some of which are regarded as the deadliest in Australia.

Some of the ticks were eventually removed from the snake's body. Credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher/Facebook

The Red-bellied black caused intense pain.

The Eastern brown - I barely felt anything, but I nearly died and had blood clots on the brain.

[With] the rough-scaled... [my] chest tightened and my whole body puffed up.

But I’m lucky in the way that I do (snake catching) with my son and my other half.

– Tony Harrison, Snake catcher

Mr Harrison works alongside his partner, Brooke Smith, and together the pair document their finds on a Facebook page.

Mr Harrison works with his partner and mother of his child Brooke Smith. Credit: Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher/Facebook

“All three of us do it so we’re not missing out on anything,” he said, referring to his son as well.

“It’s also good in the way people love you when you turn up and remove the unwanted visitor from their yard.

“They really think you’re a bit of a god because the fact is you’ve just saved their life.”