The apparent fatal clubbing of a non-venomous diamond python on the NSW South Coast has upset residents as the snake season gets underway.
Amanda Wray sent a series of images to Australian Community Media after residents discovered the officially protected but severely injured snake in the Eurobodalla Shire.
That a "smoking gun" - a large broken branch - was found nearby compounded their distress.
Despite seeking help quickly from animal rescue group, WIRES, residents were dismayed to hear the python's wounds were too severe and it had to be euthanised.
Ms Wray described the snake as "a quite beautiful and very friendly" creature.
Residents believe a day-tripping motorist stopped their vehicle and deliberately clubbed the snake. Nevertheless, Ms Wray is giving the culprit the benefit of the doubt.
"I suspect today's visitor did not act out of malice but out of ignorance," Ms Wray said.
"Please if you are visiting regional areas, take some time to read about and understand the local environment.
"We are already sadly depleted of native animals on the South Coast due to the summer bushfire season. We really need to be looking out for those that have survived."
Diamond pythons can live for many years and eat rodents and frogs.
Brett Norman is also keen to get the word out about keeping a weather eye out for snakes after a red belly black snake visited his family's Tuross Head holiday house.
Mr Norman filmed the snake and his son posted the video on YouTube - and then the family wisely left it to its own devices.
If you find an animal in distress phone WIRES: 1300 094 737.
Licensed snake handler, Brendan Smith, of Eurobodalla Snake Catcher, said: "If you notice a snake in your house, shed, yard or property, remain calm and relax. Snakes are far more afraid of you. If startled they just want to be left alone to go about their business. Given the chance a snake will always try to avoid human contact and look for somewhere to escape."
According to the NSW Government, all snakes are protected in NSW and killing one is an offence.
"Only licensed people are allowed to catch or keep snakes," the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment says.
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