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Posted by W von Papineäu on November 25, 2002 at 17:29:18:
THE SUN (London, UK) 25 November 02 Snake swallows boy of 10 (Nick Parker)
Photo: Jaws of death ... menacing African rock python
A giant python is being hunted after it crushed a ten-year-old boy to death and swallowed him whole — head first.
The 20 foot snake coiled itself around the lad as he was picking fallen fruit near Durban, in South Africa.
Other children climbed trees to escape and watched terrified as it squeezed the life out of the boy. Then the snake opened its mouth wide and slowly gulped down the body.
It is the first recorded case of a rock python killing a human being.
But police in the township of Lamontville are convinced the story is true because of the details given by the dead boy’s friends.
Witness Khaye Buthelezi, 11, said: “The snake wrapped itself around his body, pinning his arms to his sides.
“He didn’t cry or scream and neither did the rest of us — we didn’t want the snake to come and take us as well.
“It squeezed tighter and tighter around him until his eyes closed and his head fell back.
“Then the snake’s mouth opened very, very wide and started to swallow him — his clothes and everything.
“It took about three hours because it was dark when we saw it slither away and we could finally come down.”
The only clue to the snake’s whereabouts was a track of flattened grass which led to a stream.
Rock pythons have stretchy ligaments that allow them to swallow large animals — and they usually prey on monkeys, pigs, birds and other warm-blooded mammals.