A photograph purporting to show a 55ft snake found in a forest in China has become an internet sensation. It was originally posted in a thread on the website of the People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper in China.
The thread claimed the snake was one of two enormous boas found by workers clearing forest for a new road outside Guping city, Jiangxi province. They apparently woke up the sleeping snakes during attempts to bulldoze a huge mound of earth. “On the third dig, the operator found there was blood amongst the soil, and with a further dig, a dying snake appeared,” said the post. “At the same time, another gold coloured giant boa appeared with its mouth wide open. The driver was paralysed with fear, while the other workers ran for their lives. “By the time the workers came back, the wounded boa had died, while the other snake had disappeared. The bulldozer operator was so sick that he couldn’t even stand up.”
The post claimed that the digger driver was so traumatised that he suffered a heart attack on his way to hospital and later died.
The dead snake was 55ft (16.7m) long, weighed 300kg and was estimated to be 140 years old, according to the post.
Hoax or Fact:
The photograph claims to show a 55ft giant snake that is found in a forest of Malaysia (some versions of messages say China). This story became an internet sensation when it started spreading through emails, forums and social networking websites. However, the story is a hoax. No such story was found to be reported in the website of People’s Daily as mentioned in the story. The photograph is cleverly manipulated to mislead people. The snake is seen hanging from the digging bucket down to the extreme foreground which induces viewers to consider the people in the cab behind as an indication of scale. If we could see the actual size of the bucket, it would be easy to estimate the relative size of the snake. The normal size of a bull dozer bucket will be around 3-5 feet, and the snake in the picture is about 5 times the size of the bucket, which makes it around 15 to 25 feet at the maximum. Moreover, the snake cannot be Boa because they do not belong to that part of the world. The markings on the backside of the snake indicate that it is a reticulated python. Therefore, this picture message claiming to show 55 feet snake in the forest of Malaysia is a definite hoax.
Reticulated pythons are indeed the world’s longest snakes. These pythons vary in size, and can grow up to 23 ft (6.95 m), the largest witnessed was 29 ft (8.7 m). Sometimes, the claims made by animal parks and zoos are exaggerated when it comes to the measurement of these giant snakes, like a monster reticulated python in Indonesia that was first claimed to be nearly 49 foot (14.9 m) and weighing 990 pound (450 Kgs). This was later shown to be not more than 7 m in length and 100 Kgs in weight.
49 ft Python in Indonesia