No, it's not the latest fashion in dog muzzles - although Bronson the labrador's forlorn look leaves no doubt he's not happy about not being able to bark with a deadly snake wrapped around his mouth.
The extraordinary photo was taken by Bronson's owner, Deborah Allen, after the black lab trundled home from the nearby fields with the poisonous reptile hanging from his face.
Bronson is often bringing objects he finds in the fields back to his owners' farmhouse at Yarragon, near Melbourne, Australia, but the day he brought home the deadly copperhead snake topped them all for Deborah and her husband Peter.
Bronson and the snake
Click to view image: '7da927583f9e-dog_and_snake.jpg'
Barking mad: Bronson the labrador dog retrieved something unusual on his walk - a deadly copperhead snake which had clamped itself around his mouth
The snake's tail was in Bronson's mouth, its body was wrapped around his jaw and the reptile's head was dangling down between the dog's feet.
Deborah and Peter were terrified that the snake might raise its fangs and give Bronson a deadly bite, but it appeared to have come off the worst in the battle between canine and reptile and was in a dazed state.
'The first thing we did was grab a camera and take a picture, because this had to be believed,' said Deborah. 'The look on Bronson's face left us in no doubt he was feeling very sad about having his mouth clamped shut by the snake's body.
'You could see by his expression that he just wanted the picture session to be over with as soon as possible.'
Bronson, aged 11, had been trained by the couple to always remain totally rigid when ordered to do so if he was found carrying something he'd found in the fields. Once, he even found Peter's lost phone and brought it home.
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But the snake was a different matter altogether. Deborah and her husband agreed they had to approach the reptile very carefully.
'We weren't sure if it was alive or not and we touched its head, which was down at ground level and it moved - it appeared slightly stunned,' she told Melbourne's Herald Sun.
The couple were eventually able to remove the snake by lowering a grain bag to the ground and then pulling it up over the reptile, while at the same time pulling its body from Bronson's mouth. 'As soon as I said "give" Bronson dropped the snake right into the bag and we sealed up the ends.
They then rushed Bronson to a local vet, where a blood test confirmed he had received a bite from the snake. He was put on a drip and after four days was allowed to return home in the best of health.
Vet Peter Gibbs said a large number of pets had been brought in to the clinic during the current Australian summer for treatment of snake bites.
He warned owners to avoid areas where snakes are likely to be active.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1244221/Labradors-bite-worse-bark-bringing-home-deadly-snake.html#ixzz0d3DlRMKW
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