|Amos T Fairchild/Creative Commons|
In New South Wales, Australia, a child was attacked by a python. What makes this case especially interesting is that the attacker was a coastal carpet python. This species is not generally regarded as a danger to humans. It is probably not large enough to successfully prey on people; though it grows to 10 feet (and in a record case, 13 feet), it is apparently not as thick and powerful as species like the boa constrictor. The constrictors commonly mentioned as dangerous, like the Burmese python and the reticulate python, are far thicker and longer. Nonetheless, the carpet python could certainly hurt or even kill a small child if motivated.
But why would it? The snake-catcher quoted in the article proposes that the python was only looking for a warm spot. This scenario is supported by the fact that the snake only began to bite after the mother discovered it and tried to remove it. But the mother says the snake was wrapped around the little girl's arm. In larger species, that would sound like predatory behavior. I'm not sure what to make of it here.
I'm intrigued by the role of the pet cat, too. It alerted the mother by hissing at the snake. She says it had also been behaving oddly for several days, as if it was aware of the snake's presence in the house long before the humans were.
Mother rescues baby daughter from 6ft python after waking to find the snake wrapped around the infant's arm | Mail Online:
"While Zara was being treated at the hospital for the snake bites – which weren’t venomous – snake expert Tex Tillis hunted down the python at Mrs Guthrie’s home.
He found it sleeping between the bedside table and the wall and suspects it had been in the bedroom for several days."