A 65-year-old man in Graz, Austria got up bright and early to start his day. He went to use the facilities in his apartment at six in the morning when suddenly, he felt a “pinch in the area” of his genitals. Surprised, he turned around and discovered a five-foot-long snake in his toilet. That’s one way to wake up. The snake was later identified by authorities as a reticulated python. They are the world’s longest snake and are among the top three heaviest, so the one that attacked the Austrian man (who has remained unnamed) was likely a young one. The reptile is native to Southeast Asia, which meant authorities soon suspected the animal of being someone’s pet.
While the man did seek medical attention at the hospital, it was reported that his injuries from the snake bite were minor and he’s doing fine. He contacted emergency services, who found a reptile expert to identify the reticulated python. That expert then removed the animal, cleaned it and cared for it, and then with the assistance of authorities, returned the pet to its owner.
The injured man has now been made aware that in his apartment building there is a 24-year-old with 11 non-venomous constrictor snakes. The reticulated python belonged to the 24-year-old, though no one has been able to trace how the snake got from one apartment to the injured man’s toilet bowl. It’s believed that the reticulated python traveled through the drains in the apartment building and found its way into the man’s toilet bowl. The pet owner is now under suspicion of negligently causing bodily harm due to the snake escape and then attack, but the pet was returned to them.
The reticulated python is not a venomous snake. They’re known for biting or constricting if they feel threatened or if they spot something they believe to be food.
Opinions on whether the reticulated python should be kept as a pet varies. In 2015, the reticulated python was among those banned from interstate transport in the United States. The snakes were deemed too dangerous to humans.
It’s not common for adult humans to die from reticulated python attacks, but it happens. In at least two different incidents, people were eaten by them. They can grow to be 30 feet long and then their lower jack isn’t connected to the skull. This means that they can open their mouth very, very wide. While adult human shoulders are often wide enough to give them some trouble with swallowing an entire adult human, they have managed to do it. Despite this, reticulated pythons have become popular pets, especially the albino and tiger types, which has led to a lot of selective breeding for captive reticulated pythons.
There are actually quite a lot of stories of escaped pet snakes. A few weeks ago, one was found on a train in the United Kingdom. More recently, a zebra cobra (one of the more venomous snakes in the world) escaped from a home in the suburbs and shut down a neighborhood until authorities could capture it.