Massage rescues python after swallowing tennis ball

A Queensland animal rescuer has come to the aid of a carpet python who had somehow managed to swallow an entire tennis ball.

The snake, which is 1.5 metres in length, appeared to be in considerable discomfort thanks to the suspicious bulge deep in its belly - and after X-rays it was revealed that the python had ingested some sort of spherical object.

Brian West, known as the Townsville Snakehandler in his home city, took the python to the vet and slowly massaged it out of its mouth.

This was no small feat given the ball's 6.5-cm diameter, and took about 20 minutes to get it from its stomach onto the bench.

Speaking to The Townsville Bulletin, senior vet Trish Prendergast said the snake is likely to have eaten the tennis ball because "it probably smelt like food, maybe frogs".