How did an Indonesian python eat a man?

Table of contents

I. Article presentation 

II. What happened ?

III. How could it be possible?

IV. Is it the first time?

I. Article presentation

The article “How did an Indonesian python eat a man” was published on 29 March 2017 on the BBC. This one tells us more about a recent fact: a 25-years-old man was attacked and swallowed by a 7 meters long python. It explains how it could be possible that a python ate a man.

II. What happened?

A farmer has been found inside the belly of a giant in Indonesia. The 25-year-old man was seemingly attacked and swallowed at a palm oil plantation near his village in West Sulawesi.

“We were immediately suspicious that the snake had swallowed Akbar because around the site we found palm fruit, his harvesting tool and a boot. When the snake was captured, the boots Akbar was wearing were clearly visible in the stomach of the snake.” said Junaidi, a senior village official.

III. How could it be possible?

First, “Because the habitat is destroyed, the snake’s natural food sources are also affected. Thus, the snake went out to the palm oil plantation to seek prey” said Rahmansyah, a lecturer at Hasanuddin University in Makassar. Deforestation caused by the palm oil industry may be to blame for this snake's unusual behavior.

Plus, Indonesia is home to some of the world's biggest snakes - this 14.85m, 447kg python was caught in a forest in Sumatra but this one did 7 meters. They wrap themselves around their prey and crush it, killing it by suffocation or cardiac arrest. In fact, contrary to popular belief, pythons and other constricting snakes such as boas and anacondas don't suffocate their victims and instead kill by cutting off their blood flow, a method that ends life much more quickly. When well executed, a python's powerful squeeze could end blood flow to the heart within seconds.

Once its prey has been captured, pythons have successfully eaten some surprisingly large animals, such as crocodiles, hyenas, and even other snakes. Infact, the pythons don’t have to chew his food, they can just swallow it whole and their jaws are related by flexible ligaments so they can swallow big preys and they typically size up their prey before consuming it, but they have been known to miscalculate. Indeed, the man's shoulders would have presented the only major obstacle for the python to swallow its victim whole, they are not collapsible.

But pythons didn’t attacked humans many times that’s why experts have long questioned whether they could ingest an adult man.

IV. Is it the first time?

In 2002 a ten-year-old boy was reportedly swallowed by a python in South Africa. But it wasn’t an adult.

In 2005 a Burmese python tried to swallow an alligator whole - it burst in the process and both died, their bodies later being found by Florida rangers.

In 2013, a security guard on the island of Bali was killed by a python at a luxury beachfront hotel.

It is not the first report of a man-eating python, but previous claims often involved hard-to-prove cases that happened some time before they were reported, in remote areas and without reliable witnesses. But this is the first case with mobile-phones (with pictures and proof).

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