2m-long python injured after members of public pull it from car's engine compartment

Gabrielle Chan
The Straits Times
October 29, 2023

A 2m-long python was injured after members of the public pulled it out from a car’s engine compartment on Saturday morning.

At around 8am, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) received a call to rescue a reticulated python stuck in the engine compartment of a sports utility vehicle at an open-air Housing Board carpark in Marine Crescent.

According to Acres co-chief executive Kalai Vanan Balakrishnan, the society’s rescuers saw a crowd of people near the vehicle when they arrived, with some trying to catch the snake.

He added that the python was in the car’s undercarriage, which is often warm and offers reptiles, like pythons, refuge.

Mr Vanan said: “However, it also acts as a quick hiding spot should the snake feel threatened, which is what I think happened in this case.

“With people crowding, the snake entered the vehicle to hide.”

The python was lodged in a very tight space, making its head inaccessible, said Mr Vanan.


He added that a C-hook, also known as a coil lifting hook, was used to reach its tail, and the back half of the python was slowly eased out.

But the python, native to Singapore, had coiled itself around a tube in the engine compartment and the rescue team could not reach it without a mechanic.

Chinese news outlet Shin Min Daily News quoted the car owner’s son as saying that the python was originally lying on top of the engine compartment.

But it coiled itself around the tube after a man used a stick to poke at the snake.

To avoid damage to the vehicle or injury to the snake, Acres’ rescue team waited for its veterinarian to arrive so that the snake could be sedated and safely removed.

“Unfortunately, while we were waiting to regroup, a member of public took matters into his own hands and pulled the snake out, which caused some injuries to the animal,” said Mr Vanan.

@22_das_93 HahahahahahahEnd up I manage to catch the python with 2 guys... End of the day we the hero for our neighbourhood #22hariboy93 #happysaturday ♬ original sound - _Das_

While waiting for the veterinarian to arrive, the rescue team had gone to attend to another urgent case nearby, he added.

According to Shin Min, three men had used sticks to poke at the snake before they pulled the python out by the tail. Then they put the reptile into a bag that was used to store flour.

The team from Acres took over shortly after the snake was caught, Mr Vanan said. However, the python had already suffered from scrapes on its skin and was bleeding in its mouth.

Three men reportedly grabbed the python’s tail before putting it into a flour bag. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

“Acres’ objective is to retrieve the snake safely with no harm to snake, people and property. We do not rush our rescues,” said Mr Vanan, adding that the snake will be microchipped and released.

If anyone encounters a python, he should keep a safe distance, monitor it and call Acres for advice, Mr Vanan added.

One should not try to catch the snake or to provoke it, he said, as there have been many instances where the public have tried to catch a snake, but injured it or themselves instead.

“Snakes in general are shy animals,” said Mr Vanan. “Some species, like the reticulated python, have adapted to our urban landscape, and are not dangerous.”

The Straits Times

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