A busy week for snakes, starting with Wednesday's report of a Massachusetts man being fined $5,000 and put on two years' probation for accidentally letting his pet cobra out of a bag in a Boston suburb. "I strongly advise anyone looking for a new pet to stick to a cat or dog, or at least anything that isn't poisonous," said the State Attorney.

Then, on Thursday, a 10ft-long, two-year-old python named Squeezer went on the rampage in its owner's home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after escaping from an aquarium. "It's not abnormal for a python to become aggressive when it gets to that age," said Don Riech, the director of Sioux Falls Animal Control. An expert in Mr Riech's office tried to snare Squeezer, but the snake wrapped himself around his owner and sprayed urine all over the apartment.

Finally, on Friday, another python had better luck in Swansea, where the council agreed to lift a 17-year ban on the screening of Monty Python's Life of Brian. In 1980 councillors had voted by 22 to 15 to refuse the film a licence. It will be shown next month in aid of Comic Relief.

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