A woman went to check her corn — and was swallowed by a python
For the second time in barely more than a year, an Indonesian villager has been swallowed whole by a python.
Wa Tiba, 54, left her home on Muna island to visit her cornfield Thursday night, according to the Jakarta Post.
The field was about a half mile from her house, surrounded by cliffs, caves and a certain number of reticulated pythons, the longest snakes in the world.
The snakes normally feed on smaller mammals. Attacks on humans are supposed to be as rare as winning the lottery and being struck by lightning at the same time, as Amy B Wang wrote in a Washington Post report. Nevertheless, just such a horror took place on an adjacent island last year, when a man’s body was extracted from a 23-foot-long python, in an incident captured for a gruesome YouTube video.
Tiba had been concerned about wild boars, not so much snakes, as she walked through her cornfield that night, the Jakarta Post reported. The pigs had been raiding the crops lately, thus the inspection.
When she had not returned by sunrise, her sister went to the field to look for her.
She found only Tiba’s footprints, her flashlight, her machete and slippers.
In the morning on Friday, about 100 people from the village of Persiapan Lawela combed the fields, Agence France-Presse reported.
Giant pythons keep attacking people in Indonesia — and humans might be to blame
They found the snake a few dozen yards from Tiba’s belongings. It was 23 feet long and so bloated it could barely move. A long bulge midway down its body had a foreboding look to it.
The villagers killed the snake and laid it out on the ground. The villagers crowded around it, clamoring and crying, with some making videos as a man knelt and carefully cut across the bulge with a machete.
He parted the snake flesh, and the result was much as it had been on the other island a year earlier. Tiba lay intact inside the snake, clothed just as she had been when she went to check the corn.
She probably didn’t die inside the snake: A reticulated python secures its prey with a bite, then wraps its body around the victim, squeezing down until the victim cannot breathe, before consuming, according to the Associated Press.
At least, that’s what they normally do.
It’s so rare for humans to be eaten, The Post reported, that it’s more common to see hoaxes. A single photo of a snake digesting a pig has been used to falsely claim attacks on humans in China, Africa and across Southeast Asia.
In Indonesia, however, two people have now lost to great odds.
Avi Selk is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. He previously worked for the Dallas Morning News.
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