These stunning photos, taken at the Silent Valley Game Ranch in South Africa, have been circulating in email forwards with the following bogus story:
Seems a sheep farmer was puzzled about the disappearance of some sheep on his farm. After afew weeks the farmer decided to put up an electric fence.
About a week later, this is what he found!
Now, I know we've all heard of people beingeaten by snakes & I bet most of us have said,
'If a snake tried to eat me, I'd blah,blah, blah & get away.'
Well, this is a Python & they're extremelyaggressive & have a few teeth that they use to hold their prey while they wrap around them& then constrict..
Could you get away if this one bit you & held on with it's"few teeth"?
(Note: The wires are 10 inches apart)
The real story, according to Silent Valley (as reported on Snopes.com) is that the massive rock python ate an impala and then couldn't fit under the fence. It got stuck and died there. The game-ranchers dissected it and removed the full-grown impala.
Rock pythons really can hurt people, and in a few cases have. But there's no evidence they do so in the wild. It's only when they're confined as pets that they come into conflict with people. As for the claim that a farmer was losing sheep: one sheep would last even a huge snake for months. They're not threats to livestock production.
Update: A later post provides evidence of pythons preying on people and other mammals in the wild.
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