Photograph by Xu Weiting
Bizarre death of a Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus) at Kent Ridge
Location, date and time: Singapore Island, Kent Ridge, campus of the National University of Singapore, Science Drive 4; 7 April 2016; 0830 hrs.
Observation: One juvenile example of about 1 m total length was found freshly dead and draped over the edge of the door of a toilet cubicle. Figure 1 shows the limp body of the dead snake hanging down the side of the door. Figure 2 shows the head of the dead snake on the side of the door facing the cubicle.
Remarks: This appears to be an accident. The Python could have coiled itself on the metal box of the door closer (indicated by white arrow in Fig. 1) and escaped the notice of the person using the toilet cubicle. It had probably tried to slip over the side of the door facing the cubicle as the door was being shut, thereby catching it at the neck and crushing that section of the body. However, it is also possible that it was not an accident. The user of the toilet cubicle could have noticed the snake, and had deliberately and forcibly shut the door to kill it. The Reticulated Python is a common snake in Singapore. It frequents most terrestrial habitats, from forest to mangroves, and is often found near human habitation (Baker & Lim, 2012: 91).
- Baker, N. & K. K. P. Lim, 2012. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Updated edition. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte. Ltd. and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.