Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: Attacks on Humans by African Rock Pythons

A Kenyan man has had a lucky escape from the coils of an African rock python. Whilst walking in the Malindi area near Kenya’s Indian Ocean Ben Nyaumbe, a farm manager, trod on the snake, which was apparently stalking his livestock. Mr. Nyaumbe said: "I stepped on a spongy thing on the ground and suddenly my leg was entangled with the body of a huge python."

The python dragged its victim up a tree, but when it eased its grip, Mr. Nyaumbe was able to take a mobile phone out of his pocket and phone for help. When his supervisor came with a policeman, Mr. Nyaumbe smothered the snake's head with his shirt to prevent it from swallowing him, while the rescuers tied it with a rope and pulled. "We both came down, landing with a thud," said Mr. Nyaumbe, who survived with damaged lips and bruising after being forced to bite the snake on the tip of its sharp tail.

The snake was later taken to an animal sanctuary but later escaped.

No one seems to have reported the snake’s size but of the three species occurring in Africa only the African Rock Python (Python sebae) is large enough to regard man as prey. It is generally 18-20 feet long as an adult but far larger specimens have been reported.

A rock python measuring 32 feet was supposedly shot near Bingerville in the Ivory Coast. Another was shot at Adiopodume in the same country that was 224 feet long.

The Victorian lady explorer Mary Kingsley, niece of Water Babies author Charles Kingsley was told by missionaries at Calabar, Nigeria, of a python brought into Creek Town that extended the whole length of the town’s mission-house veranda and extended over the end. This, she says, would have made it over 40 feet long.
Attacks on humans are rare but not unknown. In 1951 that a 13-year-old boy was swallowed in Uganda. In 1973 a newspaper reported that a Portuguese soldier was discovered in the stomach of a snake. In 1979 a 14.9 ft python tried to eat a 13-year-old boy. It was discovered with the boy almost entirely swallowed, but after being hit by stones it regurgitated the body and retreated. In August 2000 an oil worker from Egbema-Ogba, Nigeria, was swallowed by a 25 foot that attacked rock python whilst he was relieving himself in some bushes. His body was found inside the snake. In 2002 a ten year old child was eaten in South Africa.

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