SnakesFlash 90

Hundreds of passengers on a Qantas Airways flight had to spend the night in a hotel after cabin crew found a snake on board a jet, as it was being prepared for take-off.

The snake was found on flight QF21 from Sydney to Narita International Airport in Japan, moments before its 370 passengers boarded the plane. Passengers were forced to spend the night in a hotel.

"The snake was around eight inches long," a Qantas spokeswoman said. "That's about the size of a ball-point pen."

The Department of Agriculture, which looks after quarantine matters, told Guardian Australia the snake had been identified as a Mandarin rat snake commonly found in Asia. It had been euthanised "as exotic reptiles of this kind can harbor pests and diseases not present in Australia,” a spokeswoman said.

The re-scheduled flight took off at 7.15 a.m. Monday morning.

It's the second time this year that a snake has been found on a Qantas flight. In January, passengers on a flight between Australia and Papua New Guinea watched in horror as a 3-meter long scrub python clung to the wing of their plane for two hours before it died.