Boy bitten by snake in race attack

A gang attacked a 14-year-old black boy with a 4ft python, forcing the reptile to bite the teenager's hand, in what is believed to be a racist attack, police said yesterday

The boy was pinned to the floor by his attackers in Bradley Stoke, near Bristol, on Saturday afternoon, as one gang member forced the green python to sink its teeth into him, leaving two "puncture wounds".

The teenager was taken to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol with breathing difficulties but was later discharged. Two boys aged 16 and 17 were being interviewed by police about the attack.

Michael Howells from Great Western Ambulance service said: "In order to try to identify the type of snake I Googled 'snakes' on my mobile to show the patient. He was reasonably sure he could identify the type, so I sent the image to our control room."

Duty control manager Oliver Tovey said: "We contacted Bristol Zoo to talk to their snake expert. What we described they indicated was probably a type of python – so not venomous."

Mr Howells said: "Although the patient was suffering breathing difficulties after the attack, this was probably due to panic rather than a reaction to the bite. I would probably be panicky if that happened to me."

Avon and Somerset police said the creature involved was a four-foot long green snake. A force spokesman said: "The teenager had been subject to racist comments and then reportedly held down as a snake was held in front of him, which then bit him on his right arm. Experts have confirmed that the snake, described as green coloured and about four feet long, was not venomous."