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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 01-25-2018, 06:46 PM   #1
More man-killing snake nonsense....

See article about man "killed by" 2.4m long python in the UK. Expect general anti-snake hysteria as a result....

Looks to me like an accident that happened WHILE he was handling the snake, not BECAUSE of it, and it has been interpreted as the snake killing him because people are so fearful and suspicious of snakes (and also, lets be honest, because it makes a better story for the press).

When found he was unconscious and alive, but died later. Surely if the snake has suffocated him, he would be dead when found. I'm pretty sure an inquest would find some other non-snake related injury as cause of death.

How to combat this kind of nonsense?


Snake owner Daniel Brandon killed by his pet python

A snake owner was killed by an 8ft (2.4m) pet python he called his "baby", an inquest has heard.

Daniel Brandon, 31, died from asphyxiation at his home near Basingstoke, Hampshire, on 25 August.

One of the pets - a female African rock python named Tiny - was found near his body, out of its pen.

Coroner Andrew Bradley said there was no doubt Mr Brandon died "as a result of contact with Tiny" and he recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Mr Brandon had kept snakes for 16 years and Tiny was one of 10 snakes and 12 tarantulas he kept in his room at the family home, North Hampshire Coroner's Court heard.

His mother Barbara Brandon said her son had owned Tiny since it was small enough to fit in his hand.

He never felt threatened by Tiny and was aware of how strong it was, she said, but there were occasions when it would "strike out" if she entered the room.

She told the court on the night of her son's death she heard a bang coming from his room, but had assumed it was a dumbbell falling or that he knocked something over.

She later discovered Mr Brandon unconscious in his bedroom and later found the snake coiled under a cabinet.
Old 01-25-2018, 06:52 PM   #2
In fact another article refutes the verdict and says it's pretty much impossible, but do you think this headline will reach as many people?

Snake expert doubts pet python killed Daniel Brandon

A leading snake enthusiast has questioned whether a pet python was responsible for killing its owner.

Daniel Brandon, 31, died from asphyxiation at his home near Basingstoke, Hampshire, in August.

A coroner ruled there was no doubt his death was "as a result of contact" with his 8ft (2.4m) pet python named Tiny.

Chairman of the Federation of British Herpetologists Chris Newman said: "I frankly don't see how the snake could have been responsible due to its size.
Old 01-25-2018, 08:10 PM   #3
I personally see how it could happen... an 8' snake, being around someone's neck, tightens up to hold on and causes the guy to go unconscious and pass out, the extended lack of oxygen to the brain could cause him to die. It's not like it was a feeding error, there were no bite marks. Years ago something similar happened here in the US (I was trying to find the story earlier to no avail), in that case, the man that tragically died was also highly intoxicated (drunk).
So while I do think there could very well be more to this story and I do not like the negative publicity to large snake keeping, I do think it's within the realm of possibilities.
It's very sad and I'm so sorry for the loss of Daniel's life, from what I read he seemed like a very passionate keeper and animal lover.
Old 01-26-2018, 01:32 AM   #4
thomas davis

its sad to loose a life, but yes I believe an 8ft rock could/can take you out. what is concerning to me is the mothers statement "having the snake for years" a well fed rock python can/will achieve 8ft in 1 year by 2yrs it should have been 10to12 ft even for a male! under feeding giants is risky and imho all to common not saying that's the case here but it is possible... sad
Old 01-26-2018, 03:04 AM   #5
I must say you're surprising me here - this snake is is only 50 cm (foot and a half) longer than my little boas, and while they could hold my throat hard enough to make me uncomfortable, I can't envision a scenario where I couldn't get them off.

Are rock pythons proportionately stronger than boas, or does the extra 50 cm leverage make all the difference?

(Of course, it could still turn out he was drunk or high, then I suppose all bets are off)
Old 01-26-2018, 11:32 AM   #6
Originally Posted by Helenthereef View Post
Are rock pythons proportionately stronger than boas, or does the extra 50 cm leverage make all the difference?
It's not really the length that is the difference, it's the girth. My understanding is that rock pythons are relatively heavy-bodied. If you've ever handled a dumerils ground boa compared to a common BI of the same length then you will quickly realize the dum is a lot stronger.

(Of course, it could still turn out he was drunk or high, then I suppose all bets are off)
If that were the case then I'd think the toxicology report would have indicated it.
Old 01-28-2018, 08:14 PM   #7
I agree with AbsoluteApril, I think it's sad but entirely possible (likely) that the snake was "technically" responsible. I say "technically" because really the owner himself was somehow responsible, for over-estimating his ability, under-estimating the strength of the snake, & for handling it alone. If, as thomas davis suggested, it was underfed, that was an accident waiting to happen- not because we appeal as prey, but just tempting fate & instincts. An 8' snake is strong and a lot to, IF he had long hair, the snake might also have been hard to remove because of that: I'll confess that I have always worn my hair long, and many years ago when fairly new to snakes, it took nothing more than a large bull snake to demonstrate how easily that can happen.
Just another angle to consider.

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