Saturday, 29 December 2007

Close Encounter With a Python

It was in January, 1977. In the heyday of the golden crop, Cocoa, in a plantation right in the middle of the best cocoa land in the country - the Quion Hill Area of Tawau, Sabah. In this plantation only the best land was planted with the golden crop, while the so-called marginal soils were planted with a side crop - Oil Palm.

Well this post is not about crops, it's about a fatal encounter with a giant Bornean reptile, fortunately for the humans involved, it's fatal- but not to the humans!

Rajoo, a transplanted Tamil worker from Johor (Muar-mari) was taking his 5-year-old son to harvest his block of oil palm at the edge of the plantation with his faithful dog leading the way when all of a sudden he heard a loud sharp yelp from his dog who was just out of sight around a corner from him. His son was just a few yards behind the dog. When he reached the spot where the sound came from he was horrified to see his dog in the massive coils of a python with his child rooted to the ground in front of the gruesome spectacle. He quickly grabbed hold of his boy and ran back to the kongsi to alert the other workers.

By the time the workers arrive at the scene, the python had already swallowed half of the lifeless dog! With sticks and stones the workers made short work of the reptile which had spat out the unfortunate canine, and paraded their kill to the plantation office to show the Tuan (my boss)!

Fortunately I had a loaded (film, of course) camera with me and took a few photos for posterity!
I also took out a measuring tape and found that this monster python measured "only" 20 feet, short of the standing world record then! (The Guinness Book of World Record listed the longest snake ever found at 32.75 feet - a specimen shot in Sulawesi in 1912)

Note: Python reticulatus the Asiatic Reticulated Python is one of the two species of pythons found on Borneo. The other species is the much shorter and smaller Borneo Short-Tailed Python now recognised as a species in its own right: Python breitensteini.

[The pic shows Rajoo standing at the head of the snake, while the brave man pulling the (dead) snake's tail is Lawrence Kuloi the plantation's official hunter i.e. pests exterminator!]{click image to see full sized photo}


horukuru said...

hio joe,

hahaha the answered for the chicken crossed the road coz the chicken wanted to prove to the driver that they are not a chicken !

one of my joke 4 my tourists whenever we saw chickens in front of the road :p

hehehe i've been looking for the red junglefowl last week at tabin but only ck saw it on the last day from our van to the airport as i fell asleep :)

will go to tabin again next month so hope can see the chickens :o

hows birding ?

Borneo Born said...

Hi horukuru,
Thanks for yr comment. Actually the pic of the chicken disappeared from my blog (ada pencuri ayam kah?), I wonder why. So now I've just re-posted the road-crossing wild ayam in my blog so people will not be wondering about my chicken joke.