Jan 242016

African Rock Python in Stitches



An 1840 depiction of an African rock python by Sir Andrew Smith


An African python getting stitched up

The African rock python occurs in many places across Africa although some of the python’s territories are known to be under threat such as mangrove and rain forest habitats in south-eastern Nigeria from habitat destruction and oil industry exploration.


Rock Python Broken Jaw

This is the true story of one young, female Southern African rock python that found herself in a sticky situation, having been beaten about the head and shoulders with a few big sticks, simply for being in the wrong neighbourhood at the wrong time. After a tip off by a good Samaritan she was rescued by our intrepid wildlife vet and her team.


Before Stitches

Uncommon animals, like this rare and beautiful African rock python, sometimes get themselves in bad trouble by venturing into human habitats. Lured by the fat and feisty chickens in one rural settlement, this young python had helped herself to lunch before being accosted by the locals and getting badly beaten up in the process.


Python Stitching Set Up at the Surgery

An agitated, overwrought crowd alerted the rescuers to the snakes’ specific position in a clump of grass and wild flowers. When this Southern African rock Python had been pulled from the long grass into open ground, she had two huge bulges along her length… caused no doubt, by the two plump chickens she’d consumed for lunch.


Python Stitching Set Up 2

The farmer was offered the chickens back after the python had regurgitated them… but for some reason, he didn’t seem too keen on that suggestion.


Python Stitching Set Up 3

The Rock Python had a horrible wound on the right side of her mouth – she had been hit with a sharp object and the decision was made to clean her up immediately on the spot and when stable to take her back to camp for further treatment after measuring and weighing her at 10ft and 27lbs (3.10 m and 13.5kg).


Rock Python Being Stitched Up

Back at camp she was anaesthetized and the wound cleaned then stitched. During her convalescence and needed observation, she was used as a live model for a group of veterinary students completing a Wildlife management and Disease Course.


Rock Python Mouth Repaired

The serpent was anesthetized for her “performance” and once she was slumbering soundly, the students became a little more confident and she was stretched out to her full length. The African rock python was measured again and the students got a good inspection of the inside of her mouth and the healing wound – although the sight of all those teeth caused some of the students to lose their nerve.


Repaired with an iodine smile and ready to rumble

The following day, the vet satisfied with her condition, released her into a nearby game park and within 5 minutes she had simply disappeared into the undergrowth. So where do these fine people come from? Here’s the secret, African Wildlife Management and Conservation.

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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 January 24, 2016