GEORGE TOWN, April 11 — A huge python found on a construction site in Penang could slither its way into the record books as the longest snake ever to be caught, The Guardian reported today.
Initial estimates put the reticulated python at eight metres. It is said to weigh 250kg.
It was caught by Civil Defence Department (JPAM) personnel on Thursday afternoon, after workers from a construction site in Paya Terubong spotted it under a tree and called the emergency services.
According to The Guardian, the Guinness Book of World Records gives the honour of longest snake ever in captivity to Medusa, also a reticulated python, who lives in Missouri, US.
She was measured at 7.67metres in the 2011 edition and still holds the title, which she now is at risk of losing.
Medusa is said to weigh 158.8kg, over 90kg lighter than the Malaysian specimen.
The Penang python’s length would have to be first verified by the Guinness World Records body.
It is currently at the southwest district civil defence team’s office in Sungai Ara, but will eventually be handed to the state Wildlife Department.
[UPDATE] In a sad development, The Star Online reported last night that the python died in captivity on Sunday.
However, an unnamed source told the online news site that the snake had laid an egg on Saturday.
The Guardian, meanwhile, quoted Shazree Mustapha, a public relations officer at the Civil Defence Department, as saying the python “died on her own.”
“Maybe she committed suicide. Maybe she felt threatened so she killed herself,” he was quoted as saying.
Shazree added that the snake’s body is now with the wildlife department.
The sole egg that the python laid shortly before dying was also transferred.
However, a professional snake handler told the UK newspaper that snakes are not known to kill themselves, and the python likely died due to internal injuries.
“Snakes don’t just drop dead. If they die, there is a reason,” Raymond Hoser was quoted as saying.
“The most likely reason is injuries sustained when caught or after being caught. Snakes are relatively delicate animals.”
A video has surfaced online of a man kicking the snake following its capture.
Construction workers also posed for photos holding the python as a noose was held around its neck.
Hoser added that when nooses are used on snakes, the animal will struggle which can lead to broke bones and internal bleeding.
“If they used a noose to catch the snake, that has caused the injury that has caused the death,” he said.