A LOVELORN female duck has put a 1.9m carpet Python in Australia Zoo's Wildlife Hospital.

The Muscovy duck attacked the snake after seeing what hospital workers believe was its partner devoured by the reptile.

The incident, at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast two weeks ago, led to the snake being taken to the hospital with several deep lacerations -- and a tummy horribly bulging with the male duck still inside.

Hospital vet Danny Brown said yesterday the incident was one of the most rare he had seen.

''That's the first attack by a duck (on a snake),'' Mr Brown said. ''It's not high on our list of things we see.''

The snake was stitched up and is recovering in the hospital's reptile wing, with the tummy bump noticeably smaller as the dead duck is digested.

Mr Brown said Snape, as handlers had named the snake, was on track for release in 7-10 days. It would be returned near where it was found injured, but some distance from the pond where the duck flew into a rage -- in case she was still around.

Snape is not the only snake to have come off second best while eating recently.

About 6 weeks ago a 3m carpet Python was given emergency surgery after the claws of a flying fox it devoured cut open its oesophagus badly. The further the snake swallowed the flying fox, the worse the gash became.

Ingrid, named after the Swedish backpacker who brought her in, has since recovered and been returned to the wild.

Vets were yesterday stunned to find a strapping male koala they were treating, after being hit by a car, had no broken bones. So resilient was he, he's earned the name Brash.

*Bryce Johns was a guest at Australia Zoo thanks to travel specialist AATKings.

Five things you didn't know about Muscovy ducks:

1. Muscovy ducks are often kept as pets. Owners that have enough ducks will sometimes make quilts out of their feathers.

2. Male Muscovies can weight up to 8kg. That's one big duck or one big meal for a python!

3. Apparently female Muscovies are docile, placid and slow moving if unthreatened. If they feel threatened though they will squirt their droppings in a form of defense.

4. Male Muscovies however are aggressive and have been known to kill and eat their own ducklings.

5. There are several other instances around the world where Muscovies have injured snakes while trying to protect their eggs.



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