The second sign was a severely bloated snake found by a search party looking for Jarrah the next morning.
“During the search, the team found a giant 7-metre python. [22 feet] Local police later called the victim simply “Jahrah” in a statement. “The team captured the snake.”
The search team killed the reptile and cut open the stomach, finding Jahrah’s body completely unharmed.
After discovering the reptile near the village of Betala in Indonesia’s Jambi province on the island of Sumatra, police said, “The victim’s body had not been destroyed when they found it inside the snake. was just recently swallowed whole.”
Nonvenomous pythons usually prefer not to attack humans, choosing to eat smaller animals instead.
However, occasionally humans have been known to become prey as well.
Snake conservationist Nathan Rusli, director of the Indonesian Herpetofauna Foundation, believes that reticulated pythons are likely to blame. The species is the only reptile that lives in Sumatra’s Jambi province and is large enough to consume an adult human, he told The Washington Post.
“Because they’re constrictors, what they do is wrap their bodies around you. You won’t be able to do that,” Rusli explained. “The upper and lower jaws of snakes are connected by ligaments and are very flexible. They can swallow prey larger than a head.”
Such confirmed reports are relatively rare, occurring about once a year.
“Most of the cases are from farmers working on rubber and cocoa plantations in Sumatra and Sulawesi, and most of the cases occur at night,” said a professor at the Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesian Snake. Expert Joko Iskandar told the Post.Only very long reptiles can successfully hunt adult humans, and the smallest Indonesian python known to have been involved in deadly encounters is still very long. is over 18 feet, Iskandar said.
Eh, a snake! Humans may be bad at spotting snakes.
Encounters between pythons and humans are becoming more common in Indonesia as people encroach on the python’s habitat, snake experts say.
In 2017, a 25-year-old villager in Sulawesi was suspected of killing a 23-foot-long python found inside it. The following year, this time on Muna Island, a 54-year-old woman was checking her corn harvest when she was swallowed whole in an area of the country known as reticulated python habitat.
Experts point to deforestation, which deprives snakes of their natural environment and food sources, as one factor contributing to the increasing frequency of deadly encounters between reptiles and humans. Recent data from Global Forest Watch show that since 2000, Indonesia has lost 18% of its total tree cover, mainly as a result of deforestation.
“If we destroy the forests, the natural habitat of these animals, where will they go?” Rusli asked. “Especially if the area is fragmented, you have to cross human settlements to get to different parts of the forest.”
Additionally, trash, rats, and livestock associated with human life are easy prizes for foraging snakes. Also, pythons are more likely to go hungry as a result of increased competition from humans for the same prey.
“It would be better not to demonize snakes so much,” Rusli suggested.
Dera Menra Sijabat of Bali contributed to the report.