Nick Kearns was sleeping, naked, in the bedroom of his Kimberley home last month when he awoke to the sound of his partner screaming. The problem, he realised, was that a giant, 2.5-metre python was in his garden attacking one of his pet kittens: coiling its body around the animal in preparation to eat it.
Nick, who had completed a snake handling course several years before, sprung into action.
"I jumped up—naked of course—and ran outside," he told the ABC. "I just couldn't unwrap it.”
While his partner held the tail of the snake, Nick grabbed a hold of the reptile’s body and tried to wrest his cat from its coils.
“I reckon I didn't have very long—I could see the cat was starting to slow down a bit,” he recalled. “I found the centre of the coil near where her [the cat’s] head would have been and just put my hand in there and grabbed the head.”
While Nick managed to rescue the kitten, it wasn’t without incident or injury. As he released his grip, the snake turned and sank its fangs into the flesh of his right hand—and it was only later, after the fracas, that he noticed “there was blood everywhere”. His blood.
His description paints a dramatic picture: this image of a stark naked man battling an interloping serpent—like the ancient Roman sculpture of Laocoön—and Nick ultimately emerged from the confrontation triumphant. As he recalled, there was never any other option but to dive headlong into the fray—clothed or otherwise.
"There was no way I was going to stand by and let it eat the kitten,” he said.