Oz jumbo grounded after serpent found on flight to Tokyo.

Hundreds of passengers had to stay in hotels overnight after a snake was found on plane at Sydney airport on Sunday.

Qantas flight QF21 was due to depart Sydney Airport at 9.30pm on Sunday evening, bound for Tokyo’s Narita airport, but just an hour before boarding was set to commence, airport staff discovered a snake on board the plane.

Some 370 passengers were due to be flying to Tokyo on the 747, but the flight was cancelled so authorities could check the aircraft for further snakes. The passengers stayed in Sydney hotels overnight and finally departed for Tokyo on a replacement flight at 10.15 the next morning.

The Australian Department of Agriculture confirmed the identity of the offending reptile as a Mandarin rat snake, neither deadly nor, at 20cm, large. But as a foreign national, authorities had to eliminate the snake as it could pose a threat to native species. Although this was a small example, rat snakes - of which there are many varieties, from the unusual Rhinoceros rat snake to the docile corn snake - a popular pet - can exceed 3m (10 feet) long.

This is not the first incident of a real snake on a plane, after a 10-foot scrub python took a ride on the wing of a plane on a flight from Cairns, Australia to Papua New Guinea, while of course Samuel L. Jackson’s famous film first brought the concept to public attention. Snakes are not the only living creatures to take a fancy to air travel - discover the top 10 animals found on board.

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