54-year-old Indonesian woman found dead after being swallowed whole by 23-foot python
This weekend, a 54-year-old woman was tragically killed after encountering a 23-foot-long python in her native Indonesia. Wa Tiba, who lived on Muna Island, Southeast Sulawesi, went missing on Thursday last week after apparently leaving to tend to her vegetable garden.
At first, nobody could have guessed what had happened to her, but the alarm was raised after she did not return from her garden at the usual time. Then, after some other villagers discovered a reticulated python near to where Tiba was last known to have been, plus some evidence of her belongings having been abandoned in the area, they began to fear the worst.
The snake was discovered at around 9.30am by a search party on Friday morning, according to The Jakarta Post, and was observed to have a noticeably swollen belly. About 50 feet away were a pair of slippers, a flashlight, and an abandoned machete, as well as a set of footprints that were presumed to be Tiba's.
The victim's sister, who was not named, was the first to alert other locals about the suspicious scene.
Once the snake was located, it was promptly killed, and its body was laid on the ground in front of dozens of onlookers and sliced open. Horrifyingly, the woman's body was found fully still whole inside the reptile, and it was evident that she was dead before being consumed.
"When they cut open the snake’s belly they found Tiba’s body still intact with all her clothes," said the village chief, who only went by the name Faris. "She was swallowed first from her head."
A video of the snake being sliced open soon garnered thousands of views after being posted to social media.
"Residents were suspicious the snake swallowed the victim, so they killed it, then carried it out of the garden," said local police chief, Hamka. "The snake’s belly was cut open and the body of the victim was found inside."
While it is uncommon for this breed of snake to take on human prey, this is not the first time a person has been killed by a python on the island. Just last year, in fact, a 25-year-old man named Akbar Salubiro was cut out of a snake measuring 23 feet in length.
"When the snake was captured, the boots Akbar was wearing were clearly visible in the stomach of the snake," village secretary Salubiro Junaidi told the Jakarta Post. "Resident[s] cut open the belly of the snake and Akbar was lifeless [inside]."
Reticulated pythons are the largest non-venomous breed of snake in the world, and hunt their prey by grabbing onto it with razor sharp teeth and crushing it by wrapping their body around it. Most often, the cause of death is either suffocation or a cardiac arrest.
The giant creatures are fairly common in Indonesia and the Philippines but are not often considered a huge threat by locals. However, they are understood to dwell in caves - and Tiba's garden was located near a rocky area which was known to be inhabited by the snakes.
What happened here was clearly a tragic incident, but hopefully will not happen again now that villagers are more aware of the danger around them.