Some breeds of python, like the Burmese, make ideal reptilian pets. Despite being twice our size, and several times heavier and more muscular, Burmese pythons are relatively tame and eat only a couple times per month. They could even be described as playful and affectionate, perhaps the only snake to deserve such a curious distinction. Other constrictors, like the anaconda, have no natural predators, but rarely strike unless threatened or bothered.
But some pythons are habitually aggressive. The reticulated python, the third largest snake in the world after the female green anaconda and Burmese, is the only breed of snake that is known to feast on humans. Rock pythons are easily ticked. Mixed-bred super snakes, like those scattered in the Florida Everglades, possess unpredictable traits and are naturally deadly. One Australian snake wrangler in particular, got on the wrong side of one python while attempting to secure it and release it back to the wild. USA Today made the harrowing report below:
A rather disoriented carpet python had wandered into someone’s backyard in North Lakes, Queensland. It had managed to climb over a tall fence. Brisbane-based snake catcher Joshua Castle was called over on May 22 to remove the beast from the premises, but the attempt almost resulted in a gnarly bite to the face. The snake had been hiding behind a small tree, propped up against a slotted fence lining the inner concrete wall. It seemed to have moved into the shade on purpose, to cool down from the searing heat. According to the home owner, it’s not uncommon for a snake to find its way in exactly that spot, having had another unwanted scaly visitor recently. Castle gently pulled the python out of the blind spot and casually slung it over his shoulder.
It seemed compliant at first. The snake tried to get its face closer to Castle, but nothing too serious or hostile. The wrangler looped a hand around the animal’s trachea, careful not to alarm it or make any sudden moves. The python eventually calmed down, slithering over Castle’s nape. He immediately removed it. Everything seemed peachy for a while — the crew even had time for a photo op and an extended chat with the home owner — and the python responded with several almost-boops to the face. These movements were generally interpreted as a sort of genial, childlike curiosity — basically the snake attempting to befriend its captors. Castle allowed the beast to glide across his palms freely, explaining to the homeowner that even a snake needs its “exercise.”
Ironically, Castle was in the process of reminding the house’s owner that snakes are “still wild animals,” emphasizing largely on the need to “always be careful,” when the beast slowly began coiling around his neck. The catcher continued droning on about how a bite “is gonna bloody hurt” as the python reached toward the camera; before either Castle or the camera crew could figure out what it’s doing, the carpet python had already wrapped its large tail tightly around the former’s throat, curling the tip around his jaw. Suddenly, the snake lunged at him fangs outstretched; his cap got knocked off but Castle managed to duck at the last second. The snake’s snout bumped awkwardly with his cheek, but the fangs didn’t penetrate. It tried to escape from its net and attack a second time, only to miss. The wrangler survived the encounter with only an aching jaw, probably. The full video was originally uploaded by Storyful on YouTube:
A native of Western Australia, the carpet python is a favorite among reptile owners. Unlike its infamously more vicious cousins, this breed of python is not known for being cranky and isn’t nearly as long or as large. Still, the one found in this Australian home is considered “massive” for its type. Castle quickly studied the snake’s patterns and described it as “very old.” That’s right. This angry noodle is in fact a senior. Probably explains why it’s so grouchy. Same time, it was probably owned by someone nearby, given its age. Joshua Castle runs JC’s Catch and Release, a snake catching service based in Brisbane, Ipswich, and Logan.