A 10 ft (3 m) scrub python was battling to retain its grip on the wing as a Qantas plane made its way between the Australian town of Cairns and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
It held on the whole 1hr 50 min flight.
But on arrival in Port Moresby, ground crew found the snake had died.
Passengers first became aware of the reptile 20 minutes after take-off. A woman pointed out the python to fellow passengers and cabin crew.
At first only its head was visible, but as it tried to manoeuvre itself back to safety, its whole body was exposed. Time and again it tried to pull itself back into the shelter of the wing, but the wind was relentless.
The wind speed was 250 mph (400 km/h) and the temperature -12C.
The snake’s body was hammered against the engine, leaving blood stains on the white paint.
A 10 ft scrub python was battling to retain its grip on the wing as a Qantas plane made its way between the Australian town of Cairns and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea
One passenger, Robert Weber, a website designer in Cairns, told the Sydney Morning Herald: ”The people at the front were oblivious to what was going on but the passengers at the back were all totally focused on the snake and how it might have got on to the aircraft.
”There was no panic. At no time did anyone stop to consider that there might be others on board.”
The president of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, Paul Cousins, said: ”It appears as though the snake has initially crawled up inside the landing bay, maybe housed himself in there, and then crawled into the trailing ledge flap assembly.”
Scrub pythons are Australia’s longest snakes. They feed on rodents and often conceal themselves in enclosed space to ambush their prey. The wing of a stationary aircraft may have appeared a likely place to this particular snake.
Mohammed Salmodin, a Nepali farmer who was bitten by a cobra in his rice paddy field, has killed the snake by repeatedly biting it in return.
“A snake charmer told me that if a snake bites you, bite it until it is dead and nothing will happen to you,” said Mohammed Salmodin.
He has now been discharged from hospital where he was being treated for the snake bite.
Officials say he will not be charged because the reptile was not endangered.
“When I realized that a snake had bit me, I went home to get a torch and saw that it was a cobra. So I bit it to death,” he said.
Mohammed Salmodin, a Nepali farmer who was bitten by a cobra in his rice paddy field, has killed the snake by repeatedly biting it in return
After he bit the snake to death, Mohammed Salmodin said that he went about his daily business as if nothing had happened. He says he finally agreed to go to hospital after pressure from family, neighbours and police.
The incident took place on Tuesday in a village 200 km (125 miles) south-east of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
The snake he killed is reported to have been the common cobra. Nepal has a wide variety of snakes, many of which are venomous – such as the cobra.
Estimates suggest that there are 20,000 cases of snake bite in Nepal a year, most of them in the Terai southern plains, causing about 1,000 deaths, the AFP news agency reports.
Advice for victims of snake bite can vary, partly because different snakes have different types of venom.
How to react in case of snake bite:
• Remain calm
• Try to remember the snake’s shape, size and colour
• Keep the bitten part of your body as still as possible to prevent the venom spreading
• Remove any jewellery or watches from the bitten limb as it may swell
• Do not attempt to remove any clothing, such as trousers
• Seek immediate medical attention
Widely known treatments, such as the application of a tourniquet or trying to suck out the venom, are not recommended.
Scientists from Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, have found that boa constrictors halt squeezing a prey when their victim’s heart stops.
This accurate calculation of death, while seemingly just cruel, allows the snake to expend the minimum amount of energy
Scientists discovered boas can actually “feel” their victim’s heartbeat after a series of experiments.
First they used dead rats with implanted “simulated hearts” (water-filled bulbs connected to a pump) to lure the snakes.
Scientists from Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, have found that boa constrictors halt squeezing a prey when their victim's heart stops
When the boas struck out at the rats the scientists controlled their fake hearts remotely.
They also measured the pressure of the squeeze on the rat’s bodies to see whether the snake adjusted according to heartbeat strength.
When scientists kept the hearts pumping, they found the snakes clung onto the rats for “longer than any previous observation of a snake constricting a prey item – live or dead”.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time we tested a snake with a rat with a simulated heart,” lead researcher, Dr. Scott Boback, from Dickinson College, told BBC Nature.
“It was writhing and squeezing the rat in an apparent effort to kill it.”
The team then tried the same experiment with live rats.
The scientists found the boas constricted the rats and then gradually eased off as their prey’s heartbeat dwindled.
“There was such a clear difference I knew we were discovering something interesting,” Dr. Scott Boback said.
In a summary of the study, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, the scientists wrote: “Many of us think of snakes as audacious killers, incapable of the complex functions we typically reserve for <<higher>> vertebrates.
“We found otherwise.”
The scientists added the snakes’ sense of touch may mean the serpents are “capable of things that we did not realize before”.
“For instance, snakes may utilize this acute tactile sense to coordinate complex movements associated with limbless locomotion,” said Dr. Scott Boback.
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