Thursday, 14 April 2016

Mystery over death of Malaysian python contending for title of world's longest snake

Snake expert rejects suggestion that the 7.5m python might have killed itself

Oliver Holmes in Bangkok
Tuesday 12 April 2016 06.21 BST
Last modified on Tuesday 12 April 201607.26 BST

A python caught in Malaysia and first thought to be the longest snake in captivity has lost both its run at the title and its life.

Two people working for the department that trapped the animal said it was remeasured at 7.5 metres, just 17 centimetres short of first place.

The reticulated python was found last week on a construction site where a flyover was being built in Paya Terubong, a district on the island of Penang.

The sudden death of the animal, estimated after its capture to be 8 metres, just days after it was found has led to concerns that it was mishandled.

Shazree Mustapha, a public relations officer at Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force, said the python “died on her own.”

“Maybe she committed suicide. Maybe she felt threatened so she killed herself,” he said, adding he was not certain this was the reason for its demise.

He said the snake’s body was handed over to the wildlife department. A sole egg that the serpent laid shortly before dying was also transferred, he added.

Video of the snake following its capture showed a man kicking it. Construction workers also posed for photos holding the python as a noose was held around its neck.

Raymond Hoser, who runs snake handling courses and gave reticulated pythons their scientific name, Broghammerus Reticulatus, said that snakes do not kill themselves and the python likely died due to internal injuries.

“Snakes don’t just drop dead. If they die there is a reason,” he told the Guardian.

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