Boys claim friend eaten by snake

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Boys claim friend eaten by snake

A young South African boy is missing, his friends say he was swallowed by an African rock python, and a snake expert says he believes them.

"I've dealt with a few cases like this and I always dispel them as absolute rubbish. But in my opinion this one did happen," snake park owner Craig Smith told AFP yesterday.

He said a group of boys, aged between five and eight, were playing in a mango plantation in the eastern harbour city of Durban at the weekend. One of the boys later ran home and told his mother his friend had been eaten by a snake.

"Normally, in these cases, I ask people a couple of basic questions like how the snake moved and then it becomes clear they are talking nonsense," Smith said.

"But the way the snake was described by the child, the way he said the snake moved, the way he said the snake grabbed the child, there is a very good likelihood it did occur."


Smith said there was evidence that a snake, between 5 and 6 metres long, had been in the area where the boy said the incident occurred.

"There was a big flattened area, a flattened grass path, and snake tracks down by the (nearby) river. In my opinion, with 26 years of experience with reptiles, this did happen."

There has been no sign of the snake since the alleged incident on Sunday.

Smith said they were still trying to track down the mother of the missing child, adding that a missing persons report had "definitely been filed" despite police reports to the contrary.

African rock pythons occur in sub-Saharan Africa, can grow up to 8.5 metres long and usually feed on monkeys, pigs, deer, small apes and birds.

Smith said it was extremely unusual for African rock pythons, which are common in the Durban area, to eat people, but added: "In this case, maybe it was very hungry coming out of winter. They are opportunistic eaters. They eat any warm-blooded animal."


http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/21/1037697814559.html
By William One Sac: posted on 27-11-2002








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