Indonesian python puts squeeze on reptilian record

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The Independent Online

Villagers in Indonesia have captured what is believed to be the longest snake in the world - a 15-metre (49.21ft) python, which weighs nearly 450kg (992lb).

Villagers in Indonesia have captured what is believed to be the longest snake in the world - a 15-metre (49.21ft) python, which weighs nearly 450kg (992lb).

It was reportedly captured in a forest in Sumatra before being brought to a zoo in the village of Curug Sewu.

Hundreds of people have flocked to the zoo to visit the snake, which has been named Fragrant Flower. It apparently exceeds the existing 91-year record for the longest snake, which is recorded as 9.75 metres (32 ft) according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

If its size is confirmed, it would be the largest snake ever kept in captivity. A local daily newspaper, Republika, published two photographs of a large, fat reptile lying coiled in a box. But it was difficult to confirm the claim as there were no measuring tapes or objects beside the snake to compare its size.

The title for heaviest snake was previously held by a Burmese python weighing 183kg (403lb) which was kept in Gurnee, Illinois. Fragrant Flower, which has just been displayed for the first time in public, was captured last year.

Reticulated pythons, a species native to the swamps and jungles of South-east Asia, are the longest snakes species in the world. Their length may be reflected in their voracious appetites.

They are capable of eating animals as large as sheep and have also been known to attack humans. Many of them are able to stretch their jaws wider than the width of a man's shoulders.

Fragrant Flower is currently confined to eating three or four dogs a month, according to local newspaper reports.

Samantha, a 26ft python and a former title holder for the longest snake in the world, used to be fed one heated-up dead pig a month, which she took 15 minutes to swallow and one week to digest.

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