January 3, 2014
Bali Man Killed By Giant Snake
East Asia has some of the world’s largest and deadliest snakes and this was brought home vividly on Friday when reports began to come in from the popular holiday resort of Bali in Indonesia that a man was killed by a large python. The tragic incident happened at the luxury Bali Hyatt hotel in an upmarket part of the Sanur area of the island. The hotel itself was closed for major renovations at the time of the attack and was not due to be open to the public until 2015.
The victim, Ambar Arianto Mulyo, who was said to be 59 years old, worked as a security guard at a restaurant near the hotel. The python was spotted at around 3am as it made its way across a road near the hotel. The reptile was said to be about 15 feet in length and some reports indicate it had been spotted several times before in the same area. Mr Mulyo offered to try and capture the snake. Showing immense courage he apparently managed to secure the snake’s head and then picked the animal up and placed it over his shoulders. It was at this point that the snake reacted and local eyewitnesses said they saw it begin to wrap itself around the man’s body and eventually crush him to death. Even though there were several onlookers and the police were called, it seems that nobody was able or willing to help the poor man. The snake escaped and promptly disappeared into the bushes nearby. Police said Mr Mulyo died of suffocation. They are still searching for the snake and have warned the public to be on their guard as they believe it is still in the area.
There are two species of python found in Bali – the Reticulated Python and the Burmese Python. Both of these species can grow to extremely large sizes – in the case of Reticulated Pythons perhaps as much as 20 feet in length – and are among the longest of all snakes worldwide although several other species can be much heavier. Their natural prey, however, is mammals and birds much smaller than humans and although they are not normally a danger to people unless mishandled or provoked, they are clearly best avoided. Although there are lots of well documented attacks on people both in the wild and in captivity, there is no evidence that these snakes seek out humans, even children, as food. It seems certain that the incident in Bali could have been avoided if the snake had been left alone until it could be dealt with safely and this will be a warning to anyone who contemplates meddling with such animals. They do so at their peril, although some will always take unnecessary risks.
The Burmese Python is now confirmed as a regular breeder in Florida and is one of several invasive species which are, or will soon be, established in the United States. But any threat they pose is more about the potential impact on the environment than as a direct danger to people.
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