Man Eaters

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Dusty Rhoads
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Dusty Rhoads » February 9th, 2011, 4:35 pm

Jeremy Westerman wrote: trying to find big snake man eater data is like teaching ignorant creationists about evolution. Nearly impossible no matter how much time is spent explaining and researching the facts.
Thanks, I've actually found quite a few records from a very reliable source.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by chris_mcmartin » February 10th, 2011, 4:03 am

Dusty Rhoads wrote:Thanks, I've actually found quite a few records from a very reliable source.
A few records about maneaters, huh? I suppose this is one of them?

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Dusty Rhoads » February 10th, 2011, 10:45 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:A few records about maneaters, huh? I suppose this is one of them?
Now that deserves a :lol: and a :thumb: .

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by The Real Snake Man » February 10th, 2011, 4:56 pm

Jeremy Westerman wrote:Pretty much Tigers, lions, Leopards, Jaguars, Cougars, Crocs and Sharks are where there are tons of data available but trying to find big snake man eater data is like teaching ignorant creationists about evolution. Nearly impossible no matter how much time is spent explaining and researching the facts.
If the facts are non-existent, how can you explain them? Just saying. Take for example, links between species. The FACT is, no one has ever found one. If (I know this is not the way it happened) Velociraptor evolved into Archaeopteryx, wouldn't you expect to find intermediaries, not just one species and then the next? Evolution is what we teach in our schools, but it still has no basis in fact.

Cheers,
Gene

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Dusty Rhoads » February 10th, 2011, 5:04 pm

The Real Snake Man wrote:If the facts are non-existent, how can you explain them? Just saying. Take for example, links between species. The FACT is, no one has ever found one. If (I know this is not the way it happened) Velociraptor evolved into Archaeopteryx, wouldn't you expect to find intermediaries, not just one species and then the next? Evolution is what we teach in our schools, but it still has no basis in fact.

Cheers,
Gene
Oh, boy. Let's please not take this thread down that route. This topic was started on another thread here a while back viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3062.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by The Real Snake Man » February 10th, 2011, 7:02 pm

I agree with you. I'll drop the topic, no problem.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Jeremy Westerman » February 11th, 2011, 1:48 pm

The Real Snake Man wrote: If the facts are non-existent, how can you explain them? Just saying. Take for example, links between species. The FACT is, no one has ever found one. If (I know this is not the way it happened) Velociraptor evolved into Archaeopteryx, wouldn't you expect to find intermediaries, not just one species and then the next? Evolution is what we teach in our schools, but it still has no basis in fact.

Cheers,
Gene
In no way am I gonna derail this topic with a flame war about evolution, this thread is about man eating snakes or the lack thereof of any reliable proof for a person actually being eaten by a big snake. Dusty apologies for even providing the opening to off topic discussion. Dusty, there are several records for attacks on people by big snakes as you seem to have found both in the wild and in captivity a few even resulting in deaths, but still no confirmed recycled people snake poop as far as I know.

Gene, if you really want to learn my point of view on the matter, I recommend Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters 2007 by Donald R. Prothero chapter 12 is all about non-avian Dinosaurs and their descendants (Birds) with specific examples of what you are looking for (intermediaries, but remember it is a bush of branching descendants not a simple this to that "ladder of progression") Warmest regards, Jeremy

edited to fix quote box from The Real Snake Man

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Jeremy Westerman » February 11th, 2011, 1:55 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Dusty Rhoads wrote:Thanks, I've actually found quite a few records from a very reliable source.
A few records about maneaters, huh? I suppose this is one of them?
Very funny. a herp forum "Rick Roll" I laughed myself sick.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by amtz.zero » February 11th, 2011, 2:41 pm

How about we quit it with all the useless bickering and get this post back on track? ;)

BOY KILLED BY HUGE PYTHON IN INDONESIA:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... ython.html

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by chris_mcmartin » February 11th, 2011, 4:21 pm

Jeremy Westerman wrote:
chris_mcmartin wrote:
Dusty Rhoads wrote:Thanks, I've actually found quite a few records from a very reliable source.
A few records about maneaters, huh? I suppose this is one of them?
Very funny. a herp forum "Rick Roll" I laughed myself sick.
Well, it wasn't technically a "Rick Roll" because it was (tenuously) related to the discussion... :lol:

And you gotta admit--SWEEET SONG. :lol:

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Jeremy Westerman » February 12th, 2011, 3:11 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Well, it wasn't technically a "Rick Roll" because it was (tenuously) related to the discussion... :lol:

And you gotta admit--SWEEET SONG. :lol:
Yeah I grew up in the 80's and do enjoy that song.

according to the news clip "The python strangled the boy and nearly swallowed him before villagers armed with bamboo poles forced it to flee."
Very interesting I wonder if the python (a molurus by the looks of it) would have actually eaten the poor 13 yr old fellow if the villagers had not interfered. Not too many authentic wild Indian rock or Burmese python attacks recorded also makes that clip very interesting. I have no doubt that a 20 foot plus snake could kill and eat a small child but I wonder about a larger teenager or adult.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... z1Dmx7UItf

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by crocdoc » February 12th, 2011, 3:42 pm

I'm always extremely dubious about news reports concerning animals, but doubly so when the news report is second hand information based on the eyewitness account of locals. Something happened, yes, but beyond that I wouldn't pay too much attention to the details, such as the size of the snake and the order in which things happened.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by chris_mcmartin » February 12th, 2011, 5:51 pm

Fixed your sentence for you:
crocdoc wrote:I wouldn't pay too much attention to the details, such as the presence of a snake and the order in which things happened.
:lol:

Alternative storyline: kids were horsing around in the water, one accidentally drowns; parents ask what happened, snake is seen in the area and gets the blame.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by crocdoc » February 12th, 2011, 6:00 pm

or teen boys were mucking around with a snake they found (like that never happens, eh) and an accident happens.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Jeremy Westerman » March 30th, 2017, 9:25 am

Looks like it is time to resurrect this old thread. there are many confirmed, well documented fatalities caused by large constrictors. This post isn't about that unless there is at least a photo or other substantial evidence of at least an attempt at human consumption.
So where do we stand now with verifiable evidence or at least plausible evidence for man-eaters in 2017?
Three alleged human consumption cases for Reticulated Pythons with photo or video documentation that at least appears authentic, and one (possibly two) photos of purported human consumption with African Rock Pythons.
There are no credible cases for Green Anacondas, Burmese Pythons or Scrub Pythons with at minimum a photo that at least appears genuine. Although, Green Anaconda researcher Jesus Rivas did document a predation attempt (stalking) on one of his colleagues with a photo series, no one was seriously injured.
There are thousands of man-eater stories going back centuries with little verification beyond alleged witness second-hand statements.

Case#1
Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
1995 (or possibly earlier)
Image
photographer unknown.
A human consumption attempt photo that appears genuine. The photo is first known to have appeared in a Malaysian magazine in 1995 and has been reprinted several times since, often with drastically conflicting information to go with it.
The basics of the story goes the brother of the man found him and killed the snake, and the photo was allegedly taken by a police officer. It appears authentic especially because of the wounds on the torso from the teeth.
Researcher Jim McGuire while doing his research in Indonesia remembered hearing about the case at the time, and said the skull of this snake specimen was placed in a Forest Institute Museum where he viewed it firsthand. Photographer unknown. No information beyond the photo could be conclusively verified.
story as reported by Wikipedia:
"On September 4, 1995, Ee Heng Chuan, a 29-year-old rubber tapper from the southern Malaysian state of Johor, was reported to have been killed by a large reticulated python. The victim had apparently been caught unaware and was squeezed to death. The snake had coiled around the lifeless body with the victim's head gripped in its jaws when it was stumbled upon by the victim's brother. The python, reported as measuring 23 ft (7.0 m) long and weighing more than 300 lb, was killed soon after by the arriving police, who shot it four times." Murphy, John C.; Henderson, Robert W. (1997). Tales of Giant Snakes: A Historical Natural History of Anacondas and Pythons. Krieger Pub. Co. pp. 24–26, 35, 47–50, 55–56. ISBN 0-89464-995-7.

Case #2
Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
1998
Image
photographer unknown.
researcher Ruud De Lang gathered this remarkable series of photos that appear to be authentic, and testimony from relatives and neighbors involved in the case as listed in his paper
De Lang R., 2010. Litteratura Serpentium Volume 30 (4): 254-269.
Tuwa, Sulawesi, 1998. Man devoured by a Reticulated Python of 5.75 m.
photo 1. Tuwa, Sulawesi, 1998 snake unopened.
Photo 2. Tuwa, Sulawesi, 1998 The snake is being opened.
Photo 3. Tuwa, Sulawesi, 1998 Half opened snake.
Photo 4. Tuwa, Sulawesi, 1998 Entirely opened snake
http://www.academia.edu/8950248/Please_ ... _YOUR_MEAL

Case #3
Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
2017
March, 2017 is the current viral video and associated photo stills that at least appear to be authentic. As far as I am aware we currently do not have any independent confirmation of any aspects of this case by a herpetologist or related field researcher yet beyond the video itself.
photographer/videographer) unknown.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017 ... indonesia/
This case is currently being widely reported. here are the particulars according the Wikipedia:
"On March 27, 2017, the body of Akbar Salubiro, a 25-year-old farmer in Central Mamuju Regency, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, was found inside the stomach of a 7 m (23 ft) reticulated python. He had been declared missing from his palm tree plantation, and the people searching for him found the python the next day with a large bulge in its stomach. They killed the python and found the whole body of the missing farmer inside. The process of retrieving the body from the python's stomach was documented by pictures and videos taken by witnesses."
Nurhadi (28 March 2017). "Beginilah Ular Piton Menelan Akbar Petani Sawit Memuju Tengah". Tribun Timur (in Indonesian). Retrieved 28 March 2017.
Collins, D. (28 March 2017). "Gruesome moment dead man's corpse is cut out of the stomach of a massive python in Indonesia". The Sun. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
"Missing man found dead in belly of 7m-long python in Indonesia: Report". Straits Times. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
"Indonesian man's body found inside python – police". BBC. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2017-03-29.

Case #4
African rock python (Python sebae) or possibly Southern African rock python (Python natalensis)
1973?
Image
photographer unknown.
interesting photos possibly authentic, there is no information that can be verified in these photos beyond the photos themselves and there is no evidence they are a series or the same event.
J. HERP. ASSOC. AFRICA 25 (1981) Haacke 1981 Photo 1 Portuguese soldiers examining large snake and contents Angola, 1973
Haacke 1981 photo 2 white "doctor" reportedly doing a post mortem on a black man supposedly eaten by a snake.

Anthropologist Thomas N. Headland and Herpetologist Harry W. Greene published this paper in 2011 concerning man-eaters
Hunter–gatherers and other primates as prey,
predators, and competitors of snakes
Thomas N. Headlanda,1 and Harry W. Greeneb,1a
Department of Anthropology, SIL International, Dallas, TX 75236-5699; and b
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca,
NY 14853-2701
Edited by David M. Hillis, University of Texas, Austin, TX, and approved November 1, 2011 (received for review September 14, 2011)
http://www.pnas.org/content/108/52/E1470.full.pdf

That is all of the compelling evidence we have to date, not much really, so believe it or not. Skepticism is scientific and considering the dearth of evidence substantiating any of the claims worldwide however intriguing, I would the say case for giant man-eating snakes is far from air-tight conclusively proven.

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Jeremy Westerman » March 30th, 2017, 10:09 am

as the old cliche states, "a photo is worth a thousand words."

1.A second or third hand account is of dubious veracity.
2. A first hand witness testimony is much more intriguing and relies on the credibility of the witness, but is still not conclusive.
3. Several corroborating first hand witness statements with names, locations and dates, goes a long ways to bolster a claim but still isn't conclusive evidence.
4. A single photo that appears authentic that cannot be easily dismissed is more valuable as evidence than any witness statement no matter how well documented.
5. A series of photos documenting the same event is more impressive as evidence than a single photo.
6. Video documentation is more impressive than a photo.
7. Multiple photographs or video documentation coupled with multiple witness statements is fairly considered at least a well documented event.
8. Multiple photos, videos, multiple first hand witnesses and independent verification by authorities or experts in the field is considered concrete evidence. Necropsy results and autopsy results or at least a detailed examination.
9. Physical on scene evidence such as a specimen that can be independently examined and confirmed by authorities or experts is considered ironclad indisputable proof.
10. Repeatable easily observed phenomena that are easy to independently verify would be the top of the scale.

Now considering the above, UFOs and Bigfoot often make it to at least a 6 or 7 on this example scale of credibility.
You can see why it is prudent to be skeptical of all claims and extremely critical of all evidence available.
Hitchens's razor states that "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."
The Carl Sagan standard states "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
I think Man-eating snakes more than qualifies as an extraordinary event.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by narrowfellow » April 1st, 2017, 8:45 am

deleted

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kfen » April 2nd, 2017, 11:42 am

Narrowfellow,

I did not read the paper, only the abstract you posted. Can you explain how you determined the strikes were " cases of “mistaken identity,” in which the python initiated a strike at a potential prey item but aborted its predatory behavior prior to constriction and ingestion", as opposed to purely defensive strikes in which the snake thought the biologists walked a little too close?

I hope there is more information in the paper, but as that quote stands, it seems like you took a guess bordering on sensational misinterpretation.

Thanks for any comments

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by narrowfellow » April 2nd, 2017, 2:46 pm

edited

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by WSTREPS » April 2nd, 2017, 5:37 pm

To put the Assessing risks to humans from invasive Burmese pythons paper into perspective.

Reed and friends after years of trying to convince the public that python's pose a grave threat to humans and suffering the huge backlash received for their junk science antics. This paper was published as an attempt to make themselves appear to be "objective" scientist and not a pack of conniving charlatans. They no longer had anything to gain from trying to scare people about python attacks. For years prior to publishing this paper these same researcher's were promoting all the danger's python's posed to humans ranging from attacks on tourist to causing auto wrecks. In one published statement Whit Gibbons said this : “Records exist of pythons eating people in the wild”. Skippy Snow claimed the danger of python attacks on tourist was so great that it could jeopardize Florida's huge tourist based economy.
Given the large number of humans living in the native range of the Indian Python, it is remarkable that more human fatalities have not been reported“Large constrictors have the ability to kill humans, and in areas of southern Florida where these snakes occur, children should be kept away from water edges and dense vegetation, (Snow and others, 2007b). Snow and others (2007b) also note that large constrictors crossing roads could cause traffic accidents. Robert N. Reed and Gordon H. Rodda
" the death of a Chinese baby near Hong Kong in 1900 (Wall, 1921) would be outside of the known range of B. reticulatus and was therefore most likely an Indian Python. " Robert N. Reed and Gordon H. Rodda
The story told to Wall by a “European” who claimed that decades before, when he was young he watched a Chinese infant being consumed by a “large snake” on Stonecutter Island near Hong Kong. Robert N. Reed and Gordon H. Rodda made no attempt to qualify this ridiculous second hand tale as such instead they presented it as a reliable account.
So where do we stand now with verifiable evidence or at least plausible evidence for man-eaters in 2017
The same place we did in 17 AD. There is nothing. As discussed in previous post the skeletal frame work of the human body presents snakes with a conundrum that is almost certainly to difficult to over come as far as swallowing a person. Where there are big snakes there are big snakes eating humans story's. They always fail to be credible. Pictures do say a thousand words and one of those words is bullshit. Most people seem to believe that reticulated pythons pose the greatest threat to human life. To put the threat into its proper perspective. Reticulated pythons are exceedingly common and wide spread in well populated regions of the world but report's of attacks on humans reliable or otherwise are so far and few , clearly your in greater danger of being impaled on the beak of low flying wood stork or contracting rabies from the bite of Key Large wood rat then you are of being attacked by a large constrictor.

Ernie Eison

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Bryan Hamilton » April 2nd, 2017, 8:28 pm

I appreciate this discussion and the thorough documentation Jeremy provided. Summarizing the photos and accounts in one place is much appreciated. Ernie's predictable appearance and personal attacks on scientists aside, I thought we'd have more discussion of the Headland and Greene PNAS paper.

25% of Philippine Agta Negritos men had been attacked by pythons. Snake attacks were a part of life for those people. Perhaps our fear and fascination with giant man eating snakes has much deeper roots than simple sensationalism?

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 2nd, 2017, 10:39 pm

Snakes seem to be a complicated paradox in the human psyche. Humans are weak and athletically inept compared to other mammalian predators with almost no native weaponry. No crushing incisors, no claws, no power like what explodes from the muscles of big cats etc, our maneuverability in trees, on commanding topography, and water is poor when we are naked without tools. Snakes are extremely easy to kill. A child with a stick can easily dispatch the most venomous snake on the ground. I wonder if in our earliest abstract infancy if we were the first primates to discover what an easy source of meat they provide. And then the other thing - the estrangement of perception of an animal that moves magically without limbs - it still defies explanation to most "regular" people; so alien visually from typical vertebrate body organization.

The idea of being eaten by a giant snake probably strikes some close primal cord of the inexplicable. Its probably extremely easy to believe and fear that at the sight of a very large snake, for many humans.

Being moved by the inexplicable, and wanting to understand it may even have an unconscious element with people like us, people who are interested them.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by jonathan » April 3rd, 2017, 12:25 am

Bryan Hamilton wrote:I appreciate this discussion and the thorough documentation Jeremy provided. Summarizing the photos and accounts in one place is much appreciated. Ernie's predictable appearance and personal attacks on scientists aside, I thought we'd have more discussion of the Headland and Greene PNAS paper.

25% of Philippine Agta Negritos men had been attacked by pythons. Snake attacks were a part of life for those people. Perhaps our fear and fascination with giant man eating snakes has much deeper roots than simple sensationalism?
I was wondering when that was going to come up. I wonder how Ernie dismisses that? I'm guessing it's along the lines of, "tribal people who don't have their own cameras are nothing to me."

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by WSTREPS » April 3rd, 2017, 6:53 am

Hunter–gatherers and other primates as prey, predators, and competitors of snakes
Thomas N. Headlanda,1 and Harry W. Greeneb,1

25% of Philippine Agta Negritos men had been attacked by pythons. Snake attacks were a part of life for those people. Perhaps our fear and fascination with giant man eating snakes has much deeper roots than simple sensationalism?

Men generally were struck while walking in dense rainforest seeking game and useful plants,and they thwarted attacks by dispatching snakes with a large bolo knife or homemade shotgun.
This paper provides no credible evidence or verifiable confirmation to support the claimed frequency of python "attack's " or that a giant snake had ever actually eaten anyone. The evidence for attacks by constrictors is all anecdotal. Its not hard to gather up story after story about snake attacks.

Headland lived solidly with the Agta for 24 years and does not present a single account of a person being "attacked" by a python that he witnessed. The very subject he was studying. As it was aptly stated the Headlanda survey is comprised of nothing more then “memories”. A startled snake striking at you is not an "Attack". Headland even listed the story about a guy who was knocked down by giant python without being bitten or constricted as an attack.

A python "attack" invariably includes constriction. The only way a snake could be considered to be attacking would be during the course of deliberate predation. A pythons predatory strike is extremely accurate and followed by constriction. Its far different then a defensive strike. Had all these “memories” been actual attacks there would be many more details about about the guy being wrapped tightly in the snake coils included in them. Pythons will also use constriction as means of defense. Grab a python tightly by the neck and the snake will constrict you. The snakes not attacking you its trying to save its life.

Ernie Eison

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Bryan Hamilton » April 3rd, 2017, 7:29 am

There were quite a few contrictions, some were fatal. I tend to agree that the paper is anecdotal and memories are imperfect. Headland is an anthropologist and cataloging flawed human memories is their currency.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 3rd, 2017, 8:07 am

Almost every move a snake makes is registered as dangerous by many people and although practically all animals bite when accosted to defend themselves there is something amplified in the perception of humans when a snake does it, which out of pure mechanical necessity requires a propulsion of its limbless form to do so. Because some species are venomous and getting bitten results in much pain and morbidity that further implants it as a dangerous icon but humans are clever and we were hungry and good with our hands and materials around us. Just get the head and you will eat. We were smaller long ago and I believe eating snakes and other reptiles was a natural offshoot of original primate foraging in biome.

Although other primates have been documented to eat snakes I believe for earliest humans it was more systematic. Men, women, children and subordinates of a group could access protein by killing snakes. They are abundant and easy to kill - one just has to be careful of the head.

A giant snake is food for the whole group for many days. Coming across one is like coming across mega fauna laying down, that cant get up.

I think the mistaken identity is possible as I have had it happen to me. I was struck and wrapped up around the shoulder by a small adult Rock Python. It was not a defensive bite. It thought it was getting fed. It saw a moving object coming in through the door. Moving objects coming in through the door were almost always a rabbit. The snakes coils at the bottom frame of the door pulled me to the balls of my feet. It felt like being caught in heavy machinery. Only seconds later the snake unwound flash fast - just as mechanically, and went into defensive mode backing up and arranging itself hissing and gaping. The two modes were totally different yet most people would see both as "attacking"

If hunting and eating meat made us evolve bigger brains, than our baby steps as little hominids catching the snakes we found in the leaf litter among the fallen fruits - learning to be quick and careful!.. If that is the case than it could be said that snakes helped us to become what we are today. How ironic.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by jonathan » April 3rd, 2017, 10:00 pm

WSTREPS wrote:
Hunter–gatherers and other primates as prey, predators, and competitors of snakes
Thomas N. Headlanda,1 and Harry W. Greeneb,1

25% of Philippine Agta Negritos men had been attacked by pythons. Snake attacks were a part of life for those people. Perhaps our fear and fascination with giant man eating snakes has much deeper roots than simple sensationalism?

Men generally were struck while walking in dense rainforest seeking game and useful plants,and they thwarted attacks by dispatching snakes with a large bolo knife or homemade shotgun.
This paper provides no credible evidence or verifiable confirmation to support the claimed frequency of python "attack's " or that a giant snake had ever actually eaten anyone. The evidence for attacks by constrictors is all anecdotal. Its not hard to gather up story after story about snake attacks.
Yes, the vast majority of ANY "guy got eaten by a python" incidents are going to be anecdotal at best. No one says that it's easy for a python to eat a person. If it does happen, the vast majority of the time, the person is going to be alone or in a place with very limited resources. If there were a sufficient witnesses or they're in a place with plenty of technology (like the kind of people who carry cameras around) then far more likely someone is going to stop the attack before it gets very far at all.

This is anthropological work. What kind of evidence would you like, that would actually be possible for such a rare event that predominantly would happen in remote locales? Pictures? Those would be quite rare for obvious reasons, but those have been posted here as well.



WSTREPS wrote:Headland lived solidly with the Agta for 24 years and does not present a single account of a person being "attacked" by a python that he witnessed.
Ernie, I rarely see anything come out of your mouth that looks ignorant. It appears most of the time you're being deliberately obtuse.

Being attacked by a python is a RARE event. For most Agta it never happens in their lifetime. To expect a researcher (who undoubtably spent less time alone in the jungle than the average Agta did - and by definition could NOT witness an Agta alone in the jungle) to automatically observe such a rare event in the jungle is ridiculous.

A lot of people spend decades working in inner city communities in Los Angeles and never witness a murder. Does that mean murders don't happen in LA? Of course not. I know a lot of people who've been shot. But I lived in LA for 13 years without ever seeing someone shot myself, not even right afterwards.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 3rd, 2017, 11:06 pm

It's ridiculous to claim a really large python has not ever and could not ever eat a human. Human stature is variable. The " jaws of a python cant get over the shoulders of a human is another one of those Reptile Facts 1-A, like so many other statements that were made in the 70's or something and got canonized. "If you know Anything about snakes - then of course you know blah blah blah.

Of course its possible - a small person would be so much easier to eat than a kicking deer or many other more physically adept animals pythons have been known to eat.

The reflexive balking reminds me of the sound of a seller defending a product.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 3rd, 2017, 11:27 pm

The fact that its a rare event has more to do with the human than the snake. Something about the human animal may regularly bi pass that trigger, but a combination of factors could create its activation. Stranger things have happened.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by WSTREPS » April 4th, 2017, 2:40 pm

Since it was brought up by Robert Reed himself. I took the time to look again at Bob Reed / Skippy Snows paper Assessing Risks to Humans from Invasive Burmese Pythons in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA .
Burmese pythons are very rarely implicated in attacks on humans. We have identified only a single credible report of a human fatality due to a free-ranging Burmese python, the death of an infant in Hong Kong about a century ago
In yet another publication Reed includes this /second hand account/ reported by an unidentified person / about an incident witnessed decades prior to the telling of the story about an unidentified snake / attacking and devouring a Chinese infant. The story found in a publication that is filled with hearsay, vague descriptions and often reads more like some adventurers diary then a scientific paper. Reeds definition of "credible" is clearly open to loose interpretation.

The bulk of the paper involves speculation surrounding 5 python strikes ,

Reed considers most of these strikes to be cases of “mistaken identity,” in which the python initiated a strike at a potential prey item but aborted its predatory behavior prior to constriction and ingestion. Reed then notes defensive bites to be provoked by humans intentionally interacting with the snake. He fails to recognize that the simple act of a human unintentionally passing to close is enough to provoke a defensive strike. Missed strikes, lightly biting then quickly releasing, biting but not constricting, striking and fleeing as reported in all five instances are indicative of defensive strikes and in stark contrast to predatory strikes. Reed also mentions the poorly supported idea that a python can initiate a predatory strike toward a potential prey item in response to a visual or thermal cue, recognize the unsuitability of the prey item during the strike and halt the predatory sequence in mid strike. What has been witnessed time and time again is when a constrictor initiates a predatory strike the snake invariably follows thru with constriction no matter how unsuitable the prey.
Available evidence from captive snakes suggests that even those strikes that result from cases of mistaken identity or defensive behavior may still result in constriction, which can prove fatal to humans when a large python and/or a small human is involved.
[/quote]

Mistaken identity in this case is probably a poor choice of words that loosely fits but is only part of the equation.The snake doesn't so much mistake you for a prey item, its more like mislead. Essentially the snake jumps the gun. A python in the wild is a calculating, careful and deliberate hunter. In captivity this change's as the snake becomes conditioned to react automatically and without caution. Conditioned cues engage the snakes feeding response and automatically prepares it for a highly anticipated predatory strike. The snake is following all the conditioned cues that precede the introduction of a prey item but is then in a sense tricked. Predatory strikes are done with maximum force so the snake can sink its teeth deeply in the prey and anchor itself while it simultaneously coils. Your arm might not be the expected rabbit but the snake cannot halt the "predatory sequence " once in full motion.

Ernie Eison

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 4th, 2017, 3:10 pm

I like the term 'predatory sequence' and the refinement of 'mistaken identity' to mislead, Ernie.

In an example - again in captive situ using that mechanism along with habituation techniques I have found that unless the feeding event is thwarted by a motion or scent that touches on the defensive spectrum, a snake will robotically proceed. Smaller species (prey items themselves) seem to be more delicately nuanced in this respect than boas and pythons.

I once had someone bring me his boa constrictor because his mouth got hooked up over the toe of a sneaker.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 5th, 2017, 10:54 am

The habituation I am referencing involved "picky" or reluctant animals ; nervous wild caughts and those recovering from handled treatment protocols or poor care, lizard eating sp babies being segwayed to pinkies after a gavage series, - using pre killed or thawed rodents.

Besides this kind of 'fly fishing' with forceps there is darkness & ambush security type presentation coupled with a little blood or tissue peeled back which may duplicate a trigger of petechial hemorrhage of the eyes and nose and mouth in freshly constricted prey - and I have gotten the impression that some skip over occurs, that the process is so hardwired that it is almost as if the snake simply does not "know" it hasnt constricted the animal prior. It would be clearer if there were more studies done on the prevalence of wild snakes eating dead animals. But I have gotten the impression that its not the "liveness" or being dead but a factor of connecting with a potential of threat that incites a take or refusal.

How these 'neuroethological' glints operate with a very large apex predator python seizing a human I dont know but I have seen versions of it in other reptiles in their feeding habits.

Baby spotted turtles i raised comes to mind, after sniffing a thawed pinky in the water they peculiarly approached with hindshell always facing the pinky, and would quickly tear at it on a turn. they did not do this with other food. I saw this behavior with mature turtles thrown adult thawed mice but only until they determined the rodent was dead , I suppose. But quickly they habituated to tearing into it immediately when dropped in the feeding tank.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 5th, 2017, 11:08 am

Wild caught Ornate Box Turtles would side up to dead mice or juvie rats - bite -and spin back with hind shell facing the dead rodent until they tore it open but started eating right away with thawed rodents presented with most of the pelt skinned off.

I realize these tangents sound strange and off topic but maybe they reflect some of the factors of predatory sequence that Ernie so aptly applied.

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Re: Get in ma belly

Post by lateralis » April 6th, 2017, 7:37 am

It's ridiculous to claim a really large python has not ever and could not ever eat a human
...most certainly, I bet it has happened MANY times over the course of human history. It is likely a rare occurrence but more common than expected and with the advent of the cellphone and internet much more likely to reach the global audience. It appears in one of the photos of the recent predation that the victim was an amputee, I wonder if that contributed to his inability to get away or fight back (not that he could do much against a snake that size).

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 7th, 2017, 5:12 pm

I agree Lateralis.. and the Adult Human Body that would be the standard reference for the well assimilated Snake Fact tidbit would be the Western European Adult Man, modeled in almost every common diagram of human anatomy and classroom science class depictions and representations in popular culture and conception.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by WSTREPS » April 8th, 2017, 5:31 am

Image

Anthropologist Thomas N. Headlanda doesn't know anything about snakes and is terrified of them. This photo of a very small Agta Negritos man holding a truly massive reticulated python taken by Thomas N. Headlanda illustrates why its considered impossible for a snake to swallow a man. When looking at giant snakes people generally look at the size of the entire snake and assume "it looks big enough to swallow...." They fail to understand the mechanic's involved with a snake swallowing something much larger then its own head. You see a photo of a small man next to a giant snake and it looks like the snake could swallow the guy easy. Not true.

Even with the forced perspective (the head out in front of the mans body).It is painfully obvious that it would be impossible for the snake to articulate it jaws past the wide shoulders once passing the head. Its not only the snakes themselves that lose truthful perspective in stories, its also the size of animals they consume that get exaggerated. Unlike humans. Four legged animals are very narrow and compact at the shoulders. The shoulders are not much wider then the head its a gradual increase in girth. That's the key element that allows a python to swallow seemly oversized prey. Headlanda himself fails to understand this. Headlanda makes the horrific analogy of comparing a pythons ability to swallow a pig to a similar (by mass alone) size man.

Of note Headlanda managed to take photos of dead snakes and stretched out skins but didn't take any of the alleged injuries sustained by the Agta men who claimed to have gotten them from python attacks. Most of these alleged attacks involved singular bites below the knee. In nearly two and a half decades Headlanda failed to document a single "attack" that occurred while he was there. In the Reed/Snow paper three of the five attacks involved no one being bitten, one minor nip on the ankle and one bite with no attempt at constriction. If these are considered attacks then no doubt most of the thousand's of Crotalidae bites inflicted each year in North America must also now be considered snake attacks.

Ernie Eison

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Bryan Hamilton » April 9th, 2017, 1:59 pm

Hey Ernie, Nice job on a thoughtful, rational, documented post. Hope to see similar posts in the future.

Champagne to celebrate the python interstate commerce win?

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 9th, 2017, 8:51 pm

When I look at the photo of One Guy - One Python I dont assume anything, but agree that an Anthropologist would not have any more insight on snakes than the average person who didnt like them, or saw them as frightening Monsters.

A simple swab could have determined everything. I think even at that time in medical history, at least for peeping gastric fluids chemistry.

I wont dismiss that an agreeable conformation of variable human physicality and circumstance could or has occurred where a man was ingested. A fluke of cue, timing and factor.


If not, uh..ok, its just been babies.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by dendrelaphis » April 10th, 2017, 9:51 am

We once found a 2 meter retic which had eaten an adult female cat. So I thought: imagine a 7 meter retic. It's 3.5*3.5*3.5= 43 times as big as a 2 meter retic (assuming equal proportions). Let's assume the cat weighed merely 2 kilograms (Malaysian cats are rather small but European adult female cats weigh between 2.5 and 3.5 kilograms). Then a 7 meter retic would be able to (at least) consume an animal weighing 43*2=86 kilograms? And many adult people in SE Asia weigh no more than 50 kilograms. But of course, the shape of a human is indeed suboptimal for a retic. Nevertheless.....

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 10th, 2017, 11:25 am

Yeah, if you look at a human at high angle -o- you can really see what Ernie describes, I like tussling with Ernie probably because I would want to ride bikes with him but he wont hang out with creepy girls. But yeah I get his point I just dont like 100% statements about life forms. An individual can have physical differences, disease malformations, some slight give in feature that might just make it surmountable.

The thing that I mentioned with the Rock that grabbed me it would have never happened if I were standing in front of it on the ground. The group of Rocks that I cared for were all wild caught, edgy and fearful. All about 6 to 10 feet and they just tried to bite like any other snake.

A standing human I think has like, a snake version of the toad anti-worm effect.

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Re: Man Eaters

Post by WSTREPS » April 18th, 2017, 9:21 pm

Burmese pythons are very rarely implicated in attacks on humans. We have identified only a single credible report of a human fatality due to a free-ranging Burmese python, the death of an infant in Hong Kong about a century ago Invasive Species Branch Chief Bob Reed
I touched on this in a previous post but I would like to elaborate a bit about the origins of this alleged credible report . In their published literature Reed and his partner G. Rodda refer to their source only as (Wall 1921). Implying that this tale was recorded in some sort pf peer reviewed scientific literature. It was not. It came from the pages of the book Ophidia taprobanica; or, The snakes of Ceylon by Frank Wall. They not only used this book for tales of man eating snakes but they also used it for biological data pertaining to Burmese pythons. Reproduction , maximum sizes etc. The book is described in the preface as a collection of scattered writings of previous authors and notes from various sources. Shaky at best. To add to the issues the author is often not clear about what species of python he's referring to. Like Reed, Wall mixed and matched. Unlike Reed, Wall didn't know any better. Wall from the book,
One sometimes hears of human beings being swallowed by
pythons, I have no authentic
instance of this snake doing so

A young European told
me once in Hong Kong that he had witnessed, as a boy, with
his brothers a large snake (almost certainly a molurus)
swallow a Chinese baby on Stone Cutter's Island in the
harbour.

Major Sealy of the 4th Gurkhas tells me that
a reliable old Gurkha Officer told him that once when
officiating at a funeral pyre, a python emerged from the water
hard by, seized the corpse, and made off with it.

The most curious meal that I have had reported to me was a
double handful of earthworms, and a handful of the berry
called by natives "jaman" {Eugenia jambolana). My infor-
mant was Mr. J. H. Mitchell, a planter in Assam.
As a child I would have no doubt loved this book and would have read it until it fell apart. As an adult, its a fun look at long gone time but its fully understood that this is not a sound source of "Credible" snake eats man story's or sound biological information.

Ernie Eison

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Man Eaters

Post by Kelly Mc » April 18th, 2017, 10:49 pm

Snake behavior is under studied, period.

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