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Press: 15-foot python dead in canal


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Posted by W von Papinešu on January 23, 2003 at 11:39:19:

EVENING MAIL (Birmingham, UK) 23 January 03 15-foot python dead in canal (Steve Swingler)
Forget Nessie - stunned RSPCA inspectors have found this real life "monster of the deep" in a Birmingham canal.
Walkers, joggers and cyclists have been pounding a towpath in Edgbaston oblivious to a near 15ft Burmese Python lurking just feet away below the water.
The giant reptile, capable of killing a child, was fished out of the canal near Rotten Park Road, Edgbaston by the RSPCA yesterday. It had been spotted by a terrified passer-by. It was not clear today how long the snake may have been living among the old tyres and shopping trolleys but experts said it had only been dead a short time.
Inspector Rob Hartley, based at the RSPCA rescue centre in Barnes Hill, said: "It's like something out of a horror movie.
"This thing is massive, we've never seen one this big before. It's a monster. We've measured it at fourteen and a half feet and up to 14 inches wide. It probably weighs at least 11 stone. It could kill a child by wrapping itself around it and suffocating it.
"We don't know whether it simply got too big for someone to look after and they let it go free or it escaped."
Inspector Hartley said the snake's size indicated it had been well cared for even though it would have devoured around two dozen dead mice or day-old chicks a day. He said Burmese Pythons were relatively common pets but usually reached only about six feet in captivity.
In July 1993 an 8ft pet killed a 15-year-old boy in the USA as he slept in his bed. The snake bit him on his feet and hands before wrapping its coils around his stomach and neck and suffocating him to death.
RSPCA inspectors have appealed for anyone with information about the canal snake to phone 08705 555999.

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