Snake enthusiast found dead, pet python suspected to be responsible (pictures)

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A man in the U.K. was found dead, suffocated to death in a room with his pet python nearby. Dan Brandon, 31, was found at his home in Church Crookham, Southern England, dead in the same room in which his snakes are kept. Reportedly, his pet python was not in its pen.

According to the Sun, on Monday authorities confirmed Brandon died of asphyxiation. An investigation has been launched into whether the python was involved in Brandon’s death. If the suffocation is found to have been caused by the python, the Telegraph reports it would be the first case of its kind in the U.K.

On social media, Brandon had multiple photos of himself with different snakes, including a large yellow Burmese python. An experienced snake handler Brandon’s unexpected death was a shock to friends.

One of those friends, John Cottrell, said: “Dan unexpectedly passed away at home. He was obsessed with snakes, spiders, birds and all wildlife, in his memory we have set up two fundraising pages, one for WWF and one for RSPB.”

The JustGiving fundraising page has raised $559.66 as of Monday afternoon.

Brandon was an animal lover, according to Cotrell, who wrote on the JustGiving page, “We have struggled when looking for photos for his funeral to find any when he isn’t holding a spider, snake, small bird, toad, slow worm, hedgehog, feeding a fox, stroking cattle, befriending a cat or dog so these charities seemed the perfect choice.”

“In memory of you Dan…. who we will all miss SO much,” Cottrell added.

ABOUT THE BURMESE PYTHON

Burmese pythons, with their beautifully patterned skin, rapid growth rate, and generally docile disposition, may be best known as the large snake of choice among reptile owners. Unfortunately these potentially huge constrictors are often poorly cared for and are frequently released into the wild. Attacks on handlers, sometimes deadly, are not uncommon.

Size and Behavior

Native to the jungles and grassy marshes of Southeast Asia, Burmese pythons are among the largest snakes on Earth. They are capable of reaching 23 feet or more in length and weighing up to 200 pounds with a girth as big as a telephone pole. When young, they will spend much of their time in the trees. However, as they mature and their size and weight make tree climbing unwieldy, they transition to mainly ground-dwelling. They are also excellent swimmers, and can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes before surfacing for air.

Diet and Hunting

Burmese pythons are carnivores, surviving primarily on small mammals and birds. They have poor eyesight, and stalk prey using chemical receptors in their tongues and heat-sensors along the jaws. They kill by constriction, grasping a victim with their sharp teeth, coiling their bodies around the animal, and squeezing until it suffocates. They have stretchy ligaments in their jaws that allow them to swallow all their food whole.

Reproduction and Conservation

Burmese pythons are solitary animals and are generally only seen together during spring mating. Females lay clutches of up to 100 eggs, which they incubate for two to three months. To keep their eggs warm, they continually contract, or shiver, their muscles.

Habitat depletion, continued demand for Burmese pythons in the pet trade, and hunting for their skins and flesh have landed these graceful giants on the threatened species list.

Source: National Geographic

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