Footage shows snake catcher caught and crushed by massive python
There are a number of jobs out there that come with considerable health risks. Emergency service roles, armed forces positions and construction work are probably the most obvious occupations that spring to mind - but there's also some more obscure jobs that pose some severe hazards to those performing them.
Snake catching can be an incredibly dangerous job, and those who do it risk vicious attacks, venomous bites, and constrictive death-grips, but it's a job that has got to be done. Cor Viljoen, an animal conservationist from Pretoria, is pretty familiar with these things, as he deals with them on a regular basis.
Recently, however, Viljoen had a rather close call when he encountered a nine-foot python in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. He had been called out by a guest who was staying in the conservation area (which is open to tourists), after the snake was spotted lingering near one of the mountain cabins.
Normally this would be a pretty routine operation for the animal conservationist, but this particular python was in no mood to be disturbed. After Viljoen picked up the snake, he began carrying it over to some of the guests to let them get a better look. However, the python didn't seem best pleased by this, and started wrapping itself around his legs and squeezing tightly about his knees.
This type of constrictive move is usually used by snakes to kill their prey, and pythons in particular are known to asphyxiate their target, or to restrict blood flow in order to cause a cardiac arrest.
Because of this insane amount of force, the conservationist can be seen struggling in the video, and at one point it looks like he might fall over. Fortunately, a colleague was on hand to help him out.
After the ordeal was over, Viljoen did his best to play down the incident:
"While I was showing the snake to [the guests] she started coiling around my legs, but that was just her way to try and get out of my grip. She wasn't trying to kill me at all, she was just scared."
He also went on to say that:
"I could've taken her off myself by sitting down but I like the workers to interact with the snakes I catch to educate them a bit. So I wasn't in any danger at all. She was safely released quite a way away."
As much as he might try to claim it was no big deal, though, python attacks can easily be lethal. The giant snakes have been known to kill people in the past, and even take on prey much larger than their own size. This video of one taking on a crocodile shows the animal's true force:
On this occasion, then, it seems that Cor Viljoen got off pretty lightly. Snakes are evidently unpredictable creatures, and if you ever come across one like this (which, let's be real, is extremely unlikely), it seems the best thing to do is stay well away, and leave the handling to the professionals.