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Enormous python swallows woman whole

June 18, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

In a stark reminder that the world is not a tame place, a middle-aged woman who went out to check her vegetable garden has been seized by a seven-metre-long python and swallowed headfirst.

The fatal incident occurred in Indonesia, on Muna island in Southeast Sulawesi province, on Thursday.

SBS News reported that the victim, 54-year-old Wa Tiba, went missing while checking her vegetable garden near her village.

The village chief, Faris (who like many Indonesians uses only a single name), told authorities that when Tiba’s family went to search for her, they found only her sandals and the torch she had been carrying.

The snake was hunted down and killed 50 metres away, with family and villagers cutting open the serpent’s belly to retrieve Tiba’s body, which was “still intact with all her clothes”.

Videos posted on some websites showed villagers slicing open the python’s carcass to retrieve the woman’s corpse, SBS reported.

Reticulated pythons are widespread in Indonesia but are also found in Thailand and in other parts of Southeast Asia. They seize their prey with razor-sharp curved teeth and then squeeze it to death by massive constriction, swallowing it whole.

In March last year, a python swallowed a 25-year-old farmer whole in West Sulawesi province. He had gone missing from his palm tree plantation and villagers searching for him found the python the next day with a large bulge in its stomach. They killed the snake and discovered the whole body of the missing farmer inside.

Reticulated python in captivity

Last century, on Salibabu island in North Sulawesi, a 14-year-old boy was killed and eaten by a python over five metres long.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warns of the possibility of terrorism and earthquakes in Sulawesi but doesn’t mention pythons. The chances of death by python are incredibly rare – one statistician reckoned the odds as similar to being hit by lightning while holding the winning Lotto ticket.

Written by Peter Needham

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