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Wild boar

Chances of attack very low

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2007, 12:00am

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Zoologist Paul Crow, senior conversation officer in the fauna conservation department at Kadoorie Farm, said the risk of a wild python making such a radical departure from its usual diet of wild boar and feral cats and dogs was so remote, it was barely worth contemplating.

'There are in the region of 3 million admissions a year to accident and emergency departments and if you check how many of those admissions are the result of python injuries, you will probably find the result is zero.

'People get very excited about animal attacks because it's an unknown quantity. People believe these are huge and dangerous issues. But you are going to die crossing a road long before you have an issue with a python.'

The fact that captive pythons had attacked humans in the past did not mean pythons in Hong Kong's parks would do the same.

'They become accustomed to people in captivity and that takes the edge off their fear,' he said.

'Generally it has happened where they are being fed and they have mixed up food item and human deliverer.'

Six years ago, Mr Crow was himself attacked.

'The snake lashed out, grabbed my hand, threw its coils up my arm and went into its death squeeze,' he said. 'But it very rapidly realised, 'This isn't the normal shape' and let go, and left me with some lacerations to my hand.'

Although it may be unlikely to attack a human, Mr Willott thinks the python should be relocated by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.