Photo Credit: Photographer Saverio Truglia
Constant reader M.H. sent me the following email about the dangers of bringing a large python into your home. The story, like many so many Internet emails, is false. Snopes tells us that snakes do not measure their victims before eating them.
Here's the story:
I'd be the first to admit that this sounds like one of those internet horror storys that always happen to a friend of a friend of a friend of... The person that told me says it was her sister.
The sister has a pet python which stopped eating. After a while she got concerned and took it to the vet who could find nothing wrong. He wasn't worried and explained that snakes like this can go quite some time without eating and suggested she take it back home, keep a close eye on it and if it still wasn't eating in a week or two to bring it back in again.
So Tuesday of this week she goes back to the vet who can still find nothing wrong and asks if there has been any unusual behavour. She says no. The only thing odd was that a couple of night ago she woke up to find the snake on the bed beside her. She just picked him up and put him back in his tank. Wondering if the snake was seeking warmth he asks if it was curled up on the bed. The girl says "No, that's what was odd. He was lying straight, up and down the bed."
"Oh." says the vet. "I'm afraid he'll have to be put down."
"Why? What's wrong with him?" my friend's sister asks.
"There's nothing wrong with him." The vet says. "He's just starving himself in preparation for a big meal. It's perfectly normal."
Confused she asks why he has to be put down.
"That night, on the bed."
"He was measuring you!"
Although this story is not true, that does not mean pythons are not dangerous:
Florida python owners Jaren Hare and her boyfriend Charles Darnell were each sentenced to 12 years in prison today because the snake escaped from its cage and strangled Hare's 2-year-old daughter.
Hare, 21, and Darnell, 34, were convicted last month of third degree murder, manslaughter and child neglect.
The little girl, Shaianna, was killed two years ago when the couple's pet Burmese python escaped from its enclosure and strangled the girl in her crib. The snake's tank was only equipped with a quilt for a lid.
A medical examiner testified during the trial that the albino snake named Gypsy was underweight and trying to eat the girl. The snake hadn't been fed for a month when the girl died and was severely underweight at only 13 pounds, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The snake should have weighed nearly 150 pounds, the Sentinel reported.
This is what happens when you bring dangerous creatures into your home and do not supervise them properly. About 11 years ago we allowed two dangerous creatures into our country. We fed them, we clothed them, we gave them scholarships. Then during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 the Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev repaid our kindness by killing and injuring fellow Americans.