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Missing mother found dead inside 16-foot-long python after it swallowed her whole in Indonesia

19-foot Burmese python caught in Florida
Record-breaking 19-foot-long Burmese python captured in Florida 01:06

A woman has been found dead inside the belly of a snake after it swallowed her whole in central Indonesia, a local official said Saturday, marking at least the fifth person to be devoured by a python in the country since 2017.

The husband of 45-year-old Farida and residents of Kalempang village in South Sulawesi province discovered her on Friday inside the reticulated python, which measured around five meters (16 feet).

The mother-of-four had gone missing Thursday night and failed to return home, forcing a search effort, village head Suardi Rosi told AFP.

Her husband "found her belongings... which made him suspicious. The villagers then searched the area. They soon spotted a python with a large belly," said Suardi.

"They agreed to cut open the python's stomach. As soon as they did, Farida's head was immediately visible."

Farida was found fully clothed inside the snake.

Graphic video published by TMZ appeared to show the snake being cut open in a wooded area while more footage posted by the Daily Mail appeared to show the woman's body being carried in a blanket past distressed villagers.

Other similar incidents in recent years

Reticulated pythons grab onto their prey with dozens of sharp curved teeth and then squeeze it to death before swallowing it whole. They are widespread in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, and are known to eat monkeys, pigs and other mammals.

Reticulated python
A reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus) wriggles over a tree trunk at Hagenbeck Zoo in December 2021. Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Reports of humans being killed by pythons are extremely rare but several people have died in Indonesia in recent years after being swallowed whole by pythons.

Last year, residents in Southeast Sulawesi's Tinanggea district killed an eight-meter python, which was found strangling and eating one of the farmers in a village.

In 2022, a woman in Indonesia's Jambi province was killed and swallowed whole by a python, the BBC reported, citing local media.

In 2018, a woman was found dead inside a seven-meter python in Southeast Sulawesi's Muna town. Officials said the victim, 54-year-old Wa Tiba, went missing while checking her vegetable garden near her village.   

In 2017, a farmer in West Sulawesi went missing before being found eaten alive by a four-meter python at a palm oil plantation. A six-minute video obtained by CBS News showed villagers slicing open the python's carcass to reveal the legs and torso of the dead victim, named Akbar. Villagers said the victim was likely ambushed from behind.

"Reputation for being aggressive"

The reticulated python is the longest snake in the world, according to London's Natural History Museum. They are native to Southern Asia and can grow to be more than 20 feet long.

The longest reticulated python ever found in the wild was discovered in 1912, according to the museum, and was measured to be nearly 33 feet long – "more than half the length of a bowling lane and makes this snake longer than a giraffe is tall." 

Zoo Atlanta, which houses reticulated pythons, says the snakes "have a reputation for being aggressive."

The snakes are occasionally kept as pets in the U.S.

Last year, a 14-foot-long reticulated python was found dead on side of the road on Long Island, prompting a search for its owner.

In 2022, a 16-foot albino reticulated python that slithered through a Texas neighborhood for months was finally rescued and returned to its owner.

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