The photos were truly making the rounds online for a week and for good reason. Finding a snake of this size is not something that happens everyday. The photos were posted on Facebook by a resident of the Batang Gansal region on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in which you can see the dead python strung up by the villagers.
A snake of a 'quite rare' size
It was guard Robert Nababan who stumbled across the 25.5-foot animal's path as he was returning from work on a palm plantation. According to a specialist, this snake was more specifically a reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus), a species common in Southeast Asia and which can grow up to 30 feet, although this size is ‘quite rare'. Other species of snake, like the anaconda for example, have been known to get even longer.
The huge python was found in the middle of the road and prevented two villagers from crossing, said the 37-year-old man. In an attempt to capture him, Robert Nababan was seriously injured. The guard said from his hospital bed:
I tried to catch him, he bit my arm and we struggled for a while.
Villagers came to the rescue and began to hit the snake to make him let go, which it eventually did. The python was finally killed before then being shown off in the village and eaten by the locals. Although Robert Nababan's life is not in danger, his hand might need to be amputated, as hospital officials told the BBC.
A ‘provoked’ snake
The reticulated python is one of the largest snakes in the world. A formidable predator, it kills its prey, which ranges from rodents to larger specimens like pigs or dogs, by constricting them. This consists of gripping the prey until it cuts off their circulation and smothering them before swallowing them whole.
In Sumatra, pythons are frequently encountered, especially in plantations. A police spokesperson said
There are at least 10 sightings a year. During the dry season they go out to have a drink, and with the humidity, they go out to bathe in the rain. There are usually many rodents in the plantations.
According to Donal Boyer, a specialist in herpetology from the Wildlife Conservation Society who was interviewed by LiveScience, the python had probably tried to bite the guard and use his body to squeeze the man. However, because it did not attack him like prey, it is likely that its actions were merely defensive instead of offensive. The snake was ‘provoked,’ the expert said.
This story reminds of us the one guy who decided it would be a wise idea to take a selfie with a python. Once again, another case of a python feeling harassed and feeling the need to strike back.
Cases of reticulated pythons feeding on humans are very rare, but they do occur. For example, the case of the woman who was found in the belly of a 23-foot python at another plantation in Indonesia. A discovery that has since raised many questions about what really happened.
Check out the video above to see how the villagers fought the python off...