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The biggest snake I ever caught

published2 months ago
3 min read

It was around 9.30am one morning when I got a call from an old family friend who said that there was a big python on a neighbouring farm that had eaten a goat and had been found in a hole and that a community wanted to kill it. I told him to let the community know I was leaving right away and would be there in two hours to remove the snake. I quickly asked my cousin Toby to come and help me as I knew it wasn't going to be easy. He reluctantly agreed - making me promise to get him back in time for the national rugby teams practice at 3pm.

It was around 9.30am one morning when I got a call from an old family friend who said that there was a big python on a neighbouring farm that had eaten a goat and had been found in a hole and that a community wanted to kill it. I told him to let the community know I was leaving right away and would be there in two hours to remove the snake. I quickly asked my cousin Toby to come and help me as I knew it wasn't going to be easy. He reluctantly agreed - making me promise to get him back in time for the national rugby teams practice at 3pm.

GET TO KNOW THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN ROCK PYTHON

The Southern African Rock Python (Python natalensis) is Kenya's second largest snake, reaching a maximum length of approximately 5.5 m, although 2-4 m more usual, and can weigh up to 65kgs. It was once considered a subspecies of the African Rock Python (Python sebae), but is now considered a separate species. In the wild, the African Rock Python preys on large rodents, monkeys, warthogs, antelopes, birds, fruit bats, monitor lizards, crocodiles, and other animals; whereas in the urban areas, it feeds on rats, poultry, cats, dogs and goats. It will also occasionally consume fish as well. This snake is mostly active at night, but it enjoys sunbathing during the day. It thrives in water and can stay under water for extended periods of time.

The Southern African Rock Python, like all pythons, is non-venomous and kills by constriction. After grasping the prey, the snake coils around it, tightening its coils with each exhalation of the victim. Cardiac arrest, rather than asphyxiation or crushing, is regarded to be the cause of death. They are aggressive when threatened and strike readily in self defence.

Despite the fact that the species is prevalent in many parts of Africa and lives in a variety of habitats, including those with agricultural activities, documented attacks on people are extremely rare. There are only a few well-documented deaths attributed to the species.

After checking what I could see down the hole, I told Toby to hold on to me and pull me out when I said so. Down I went again peering into the dark hole. I found my way to the snake and got a hold of its body, which I then managed to hand over to Toby to pull out.

Whilst still down in the hole I waited as Toby pulled the giant snakes body out past me. Meanwhile I was waiting patiently to see the head - which suddenly appeared! Luckily, I was quicker than the snake and managed to grab the snake safely behind the head before it could strike.

Once we got the snake out in the open for everyone to see, the crowd quickly ran away. After I took a moment to catch my breath, and get the crowd to calm down, I took the opportunity to talk to the community about snakes and their benefits and why we shouldn't kill them all.

Shortly thereafter, we bagged the snake in a duvet cover I had stolen from my mum's cupboard. We then had the daunting task of carrying the snake, which weighed about 60kgs, back to the car parked over 300 m away. That walk felt like an eternity.

Once the snake was safely in the car, we thanked the community and rushed back home - just in time for Toby's training.


I hope you enjoyed our story on the biggest snake I ever caught. Pythons are very strong and can be very aggressive when threatened. They do not hesitate to strike readily in self defence; if you encounter one in the wild, keep your distance and treat them with respect.

Thank you for reading,

Kyle


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