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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on April 23, 2000 at 12:59:46:
SUNDAY TIMES (Rosebank-Johannesburg, S Africa) 05 March 00 Python on the loose on beachfront (Thabo Mkhize)
A beachcombing python has been giving the staff of Durban's Fitzsimons Snake Park the runaround.
The three-metre-long reptile - believed to be an African rock python - has been spotted on Sunkist Beach, along the Golden Mile. Craig Smith, co-owner of the park, said staff had not succeeded in finding the snake.
This week the park placed a person on duty to try to track down the slippery customer.
Smith said the snake had most likely been washed down to the sea by the floods.
"The python is more likely to be killed by humans than killing someone. It can bite but it is not poisonous," he said.
African rock pythons are a protected species. They are prized for their skin, meat and fat, which is used in traditional remedies.
Smith said he expected the annual "snake season" to extend until April because of the hot weather, which began later than usual.
This was the reason for the increase in the number of snakes seen in suburban gardens.