Jul 192016

Rocky Python the Predator



A 2 meter man holding a 3 meter rock python


It’s Only a Snake

As snakes go, pythons are not generally high on anyone’s mind. Until you get into real python country and they become the major threat to domestic animals. Traditionally, pythons are killed on sight when found around the compound or camp.

Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the African rock python is known for its bad temper. In its natural environment, the python eats small mammals, antelope, warthog, and birds. Problems start when man and snake habitats collide; the victims usually being chickens, goats, pigs and any other domestic animals the snake fancies.

On rare occasions, rock pythons are known to have attacked people, and there are at least two verified reports of people being killed by rock pythons in the wild. No reference is given for pet pythons and that’s another story.


African rock python on a dead log

Here’s a python story as told by a strong, six-foot tall, dirt bike fanatic in his twenties, working as a snake handler and it goes something like this.

“I went into the python cage to clean up and change the water. Nothing unusual, done it many times before – all in a day’s work for a snake handler – until one snake developed other ideas about me.”

“I was bending down to reach a dirty spot not far from a large rock python sunning himself in a corner. Before I could react to the lightning strike, I was wearing that snake over my left eye. Now looking done the snake’s throat, it started dressing itself over me and before I knew where I was, I felt a tail wrap around my legs. All the time, I am trying to loosen its razor sharp teeth sunk into my cheek and upper head.”

“This is when I found out the power of the python’s jaw. I’m thinking, what now, this is getting serious, as I feel my ribs caving in and my airways are getting seriously restricted. Still standing on my feet, I am trying to loosen the tail grip to stop the snake having an anchor. This didn’t work and I am starting to loose my balance. I know if I go down I’m finished.”

“There is one other snake handler in the park but I don’t know where? So now I start to scream out for help, hoping she can hear me because at this point, walking is impossible. My whole life was flashing through my mind, as well as thinking, why I ever took on this job in the first place? Even been a snake collector as long as I can remember and this was not the way I envisioned ending it.”

“Still bemoaning my unfortunate fate, I heard a voice shouting my name repeatedly and this tugging going on around my legs. Then I felt the coil loosen around my ribs and I gasped for air, shouting, get this thing of my face, then the snake started losing its balance and letting go its grip of my face, it dived for the floor. Fighting to see, blood now in both my eyes, I was out of that cage, followed closely by my helper, before any of the other pythons decided they might want to make their move. Once snakes get riled up from the smell of blood, its best to get out of their way and quickly.”

This true story was told first-hand by a close family member in 2010, still sporting the teeth marks.


A rock python eating an antelope – courtesy of Wikipedia.



Two African rock pythons



Python crossing

Article by Moz

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Meet Our Authors: The Wildmoz team, Cari and Moz, have a lifelong passion for the Bushveld and share adventures and stories about Africa's good things. Wildmoz is Africa - the cradle of life! Travel writing about wildlife, African folklore, wildlife art, Kruger Park and wildlife safari info! Taste life as it is in Africa.
 Posted by on July 19, 2016

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