Python kills student zookeeper

Eoghan Williams
Wednesday 27 August 2008 00:00 BST

A three-metre (10ft) python has killed a student zookeeper who let the snake out of its enclosure in Venezuela while working a night shift at the zoo.

Horrified colleagues at the Caracas zoo had to beat the snake to make it release the body of Erick Arrieta, whose head it was swallowing, local media reported.

Marks on the biology student's wrist suggested the snake had bitten him before crushing him to death.

The intern, 29, had been supervising the section alone when he broke zoo rules by opening the snake's cage, according to press reports.

"The young man underestimated the animal's instinct," said Javier Hernandez, director general of the General Francisco de Miranda Park zoo.

The snake was donated to the zoo two months ago and was not on display.

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