Sai Kung villagers horrified as giant python grapples with goat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 May, 2007, 12:00am

A group of shocked Sai Kung villagers yesterday fought a fruitless battle to save a goat from the coils of a 3-metre python.

Villager Mr Yau watched in horror in Tseng Lan Shue as the giant snake wrapped itself around the black goat, constricting the animal before trying to swallow it whole just before 10am.

Several men joined the struggle to save the goat which, although eventually separated from the predator, died as a result of the encounter.

Pythons kill their prey by constriction, wrapping a number of coils around the prey's body and applying pressure to prevent it breathing.

Witnesses said the python slipped from the grip of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Department contractors as villagers looked on.

The reptile was finally captured and is now being held at the department's Animal Management Centre in Sheung Shui. It is expected to be released into the wild soon.

'It is so easy to catch. It looked so scary when I tried to get close,' said snake catcher Lau Ti-pong, who has been in the trade for more than 20 years.

He said a goat was not the largest prey local pythons will attempt to eat and that there had been an episode in the New Territories in the 1980s when a snake tackled a cow.

Villager Mr Yau, 45, complained giant snakes were becoming regular intruders in the village.

Some had even been found inside homes.

Last year a 4.5-metre Burmese python killed a 22kg husky in front of the dog's horrified owner on a footpath to the country park.

Esther Leenders tried in vain to save her dog from the snake, which constricted the pet before slithering away.

A sign has since been posted in the area - close to a popular family barbecue spot - warning visitors to beware of the python.