In the quiet sleepy town of Lewes in the southern English county of East Sussex, this rural community, which encounters nothing more sinister than the odd fox coming to steal a chicken came face to face today with a close encounter of the deadly kind: a giant python.
A client took his car to the garage in Morris Road, Lewes, claiming that a strange noise was coming from under the hood. The vehicle was assigned to mechanic Dave Honeywood, who opened it up to take a look.
Imagine his surprise when he saw a giant python staring at him, with its forked tongue flicking in and out of its mouth. “After jumping back in shock, at first I thought it was a pretend snake made of rubber,” said Honeywood, who added that a colleague of his was always playing pranks at work. “I have seen a lot of funny things under the hoods of cars, but this was certainly the most scary,” he declared to the BBC.
In the end, the snake had nothing to do with the strange sound, and turned out to be the pet of the car-owner’s son, who he had helped to move house the week before.
There are eight genera and 26 species of python, a non-venomous contrictor which is endemic in Africa, Asia and Australia. However, there are endemic Burmese pythons in the Everglades National Park, Florida and this reptile is much collected among lovers of exotic pets the world over.
Large specimens have been known to attack and kill their owners, and there have been cases reported of children being killed and swallowed whole.