Ball Python Attacks Baby

WingedWolfPsion/Creative Commons

An odd story from Illinois: a ball python attacked a baby in his crib, inflicting minor injuries before his father could rescue him. Although captive constrictors have attacked people before, even killing them on occasion, I've never heard of such an attack from a ball python. Ball pythons are considered good pets because they are so safe. The father describes the python as slimy, which, despite the stereotype, is not the way snakes usually feel. The video part of this report shows the snake, which is definitely a ball python, and gives its length as two feet. 

Snake attacks baby sleeping in crib - WTXL ABC 27
"Devin Winans says he was awoken around 11 p.m. Monday by noises coming from his one-year-old son's crib. So, Winans says he felt around the crib.

"When I felt it it was slimy and I knew that wasn't normal," said Winans said. "When it turned on the light, I saw a ball python wrapped around his foot constructing, trying to eat his foot.""

I assume from the bloodshed that the snake had actually bitten the child. That, with the constriction, suggests that this was a predatory attack, not a case of heat-induced crankiness as suggested in the report. As predatory attacks, go, however, this one seems pretty incompetent. A snake this small is unlikely to have killed the child even if no one had been present to rescue him. 

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  1. That's incredibly strange.. First off, they really should have made sure the snake couldn't escape his/her cage, and if they did, it's peculiar that it got out. Second, it seems odd that a ball python would attack a baby. It must not have eaten in a really long time, otherwise I couldn't imagine such a timid and calm creature ever trying to attack a baby, especially since they're way too big to ingest. I feel like the parents must have been rough handling it or something and then pretended it had attacked the child on its own, without any instigation. This doesn't seem likely to me, though.

    1. It's definitely out of character for this species. My guess is that the snake mistook the child's foot for an entire animal. I also wonder if the snake, which I assume was reared in captivity, never had a chance to develop its hunting skills effectively. There are a number of cases involving larger constrictors killing humans without eating them.


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