Giant python attacks in Indonesia are on the rise -- here's why

Batik Python at a reptiles exhibition In Pekanbaru, Indonesia. (Photo: Riau Images/ Barcroft Images/ Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

A security guard on the way home from work was attacked by a giant python in Indonesia this week.

Robert Nababan came across a reticulated python on a road near a Sumatran palm oil plantation, which, according to reports, was preventing people from crossing the road. Naban tried to move the reptile but was severely bitten on his arm and head. He was rushed to hospital but not before killing the snake with the help of locals.

See photos of the enormous reptile below.

Earlier this year, in a very unusual incident, a man working at a palm oil harvest was eaten whole by another reticulated python.

Phythons typically eat mice which are common in palm plantations that cover Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer. In 2000, palm oil plantations covered 4.2 million hectares. Ten years later, in response to Western demand for palm oil in everything from shampoo to food, that number had doubled. By 2020, palm oil plantations are expected to cover 13 million hectares of the country.

One study found that, in 2005, more than 50% of palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia (the second biggest palm oil producer) were once forest land. Which, by no coincidence, was once the python’s natural habitat.

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