Alex White thought he was watching a huge worm writhing in plastic-wrapped lettuce he’d just brought home from a Sydney supermarket—until a snake tongue flicked. “I kind of completely freaked out," recalls White, per the AP. It was a venomous pale-headed snake that authorities say made a 540-mile journey to Sydney, Australia, from a packing plant in the Australian city of Toowoomba, wrapped in plastic with two heads of lettuce. The refrigerated supermarket supply chain likely lulled the cold-blooded juvenile into a stupor until White bought the lettuce at an ALDI supermarket on Monday evening and rode his bicycle home with salad and snake in his backpack.
White and his partner Amelia Neate spotted the snake moving as soon as the lettuce was unpacked onto the kitchen table. They also noticed the plastic wrapping was torn and that the snake could escape, so they quickly stuffed the reptile with the lettuce into a plastic food storage container. White phoned the WIRES rescue organization and a snake handler took the snake away that night. Before the handler arrived, White said WIRES had explained to him: “If you get bitten, you’ve got to go to hospital really quickly.” ALDI is investigating how a snake could have found its way into a supermarket.