Rogue snake suspected of attacks on dogs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 June, 2010, 12:00am

An aggressive Burmese python may be responsible for all three attacks in the past four years on large dogs on the Pak Tam Chung walking trail beside the Sai Kung Country Park.

Burmese pythons, believed to number hundreds in the rural New Territories, are known to be territorial and live for up to 30 years meaning the same reptile could be responsible for last month's attacks as well as the ones in 2006 and 2007.

Catherine Leonard, who freed her 20kg pet, Poppy, from the grip of a python in September 2007, is convinced the snake was the same one that killed Esther Leenders' 22kg husky, Paro, a year earlier.

Speaking after the attack, Leonard, warned: 'That snake meant business. These two attacks have both been close to the family walking trail and people do go out hiking with young children. A small child would weigh less than my dog.'

After her experience in July 2006, Leenders said: 'Paro was not a small dog. He was light on his feet and the size of a small child and I felt the snake could have taken on me if it had wanted to.'

Asked what he thought should be done with the python, Robert Stearns, the owner of the latest victim, Phoebe, replied: 'Nothing, I think. It's just trying to live its own life and I hope if it did suffer any wounds from Phoebe's teeth that it recovers well.

'People with pets and young children should heed the warnings on the posted signs. Pets should be kept on a short leash and children advised to stay behind the lead adult.'

Most recorded attacks on humans by Burmese pythons occur in captivity. Attacks in the wild are rare.