Imagine waking up to find a 6-foot python wrapped around your baby's arm. That's what Tess Guthrie experienced yesterday when her cat's hissing roused her at 3:30am in the Australian town of Lismore, Australia's News Network reports. With the snake wrapped three times around her two-year-old daughter, Zara, Tess clutched the snake near its head—causing it to bite Zara's hand three times. A snake-removal service came to take the python, and Zara was treated briefly in a hospital.
"The snake, not in any way, shape or form, had intended to eat the baby—it was trying to have a group hug," said snake remover Tex Tillis. He complimented Tess on her quick thinking and her willingness to let the python be freed in the wild only 3 miles from her house: "Not only is she courageous and gutsy but she's compassionate." The 22-year-old mom believes that her cat's weird behavior of late is proof that the reptile had been lurking behind the bedside table for days. (And in python news closer to home, Florida has a big problem.)