Monthly Archives: June 2018

Missing Indonesian woman found in belly of a giant python snake

WARNING: GRAPHIC

AN Indonesian woman has been found in the gut of a giant python after the swollen snake was captured near where she vanished while working her vegetable garden, police have said.

The body of 54-year-old Wa Tiba was found on Friday when villagers cut open the seven-metre python which was found bloated in the village of Persiapan Lawela on the island of Muna, offshore of Sulawesi.

“Residents were suspicious the snake swallowed the victim, so they killed it, then carried it out of the garden,” said local police chief Hamka, who like many Indonesians has only one name.

“The snake’s belly was slit open and the body of the female victim was found inside.”

The body of Wa Tiba was found when villagers cut open the seven-metre python. Picture: AFP

Some 100 residents, including worried relatives, launched a frantic search for the woman after she failed to return from her garden on Thursday night.

Hamka said villagers found the giant python lying about 30 metres from Ms Tiba’s sandals and machete, adding she was swallowed head first and her body was found intact.

The garden in which she disappeared was at the base of a rocky cliff, pockmarked by caves, and known to be home to a variety of snakes, Hamka added.

Giant python snakes, which regularly exceed six metres, are commonly found in Indonesia and the Philippines.

While the snakes have been known to attack small animals, attempts to eat people are rare.

In March 2017, a farmer was killed by a python in the village of Salubiro on Sulawesi island.

Originally published as Missing woman eaten whole by python

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Henry Sapiecha

The Pisonia Tree Lures and Murders Birds for No Apparent Good Reason

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Someone should tell that to the Pisonia tree, a ruthless plant that kills birds just for the heck of it. You may be asking, “Why?” Well, the tree should respond, “Why not?”

Oh Murder Tree, Oh Murder Tree!

If you didn’t think a plant — a tree, no less — could be a jerk, think again. Found in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, the Pisonia tree fits the bill as one of the most unnecessarily cruel plants in the planet. While it’s not uncommon for plants to have built-in defense mechanisms, those things are usually there to keep the plant safe from preditors. But scientists have yet to uncover any benefit the Pisonia tree could possibly receive for luring birds in only just to murder them.

Here’s what happens at the crime scene: the Pisonia tree produces sticky seedpods that trap insects, luring in hungry birds with the promise of an easy lunch. These seedpods are so sticky that they’ll latch onto any bird that flies into them, either trapping it in the tree’s branches or weighing the bird down stosuch a extent that it’s completely unable to fly. As a result, you’ll see a blanket of bird carcasses littering the roots of the Pisonia tree. There are sometimes even mummified bird corpses up in the branches that look like, as Washington Post describes them, “macabre Christmas tree ornaments.”

Ecologist Alan Burger at the University of Victoria first heard of the Pisonia in the 1990s and went to the archipelago of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean to work out why these slaughterous trees seemed to kill just for the hell of it. Until then, no one had looked too hard into the Pisonia tree, but there were two main theories as to why they were bird-tormentors: either the tree’s roots got a nutrient bump from the dead birds, or the seeds attached to the dead birds because they required the corpse as fertilizer in order to grow. After 10 months of research with the Pisonia seeds, Burger published his findings in 2005.

The conclusion? Pisonia trees are just out & out ruthless. “The results from my experiments showed quite convincingly that the Pisonia derived no obvious benefit from fatally entangling birds,” writes Burger. But not only did dead birds not benefit the tree in any way, but the droppings of living birds would also help the trees survive by enriching the soil. It turns out, then, that killing birds isn’t necessarily the goal. Birds flying away from the tree with sticky seeds attached helps keep the tree species alive by spreading the seeds far and wide. It’s just one of those evolutionary whoopsies that the seeds sprout in clusters — heavy, self-sabotaging, bird-murdering clusters.

Curious for more of nature’s killers? Check out “Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities.” The audiobook is free with a trial of Audible.

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Henry Sapiecha

 

Nile Crocodile kills pastor during mass lakeside baptism. Food for thought.

A lakeside baptism ceremony ended in disaster when a large nile crocodile leapt from the water and mauled the pastor to death, it has been reported.

Docho Eshete was allegedly grabbed by the crocodile soon after he started a mass baptism for 80 people on the shores of Lake Abaya in southern Ethiopia.Africa.

“He baptised the first person and he passed on to another one,” local resident Ketema Kairo told the BBC.

“Suddenly, this huge crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed onto the pastor.”

Pastor Docho was said to have been savagedly ravaged on his legs, back and hands.

As his horrified congregation looked on, local fishermen reportedly struggled to rescue him. It was said they succeeded only in using their nets to prevent the crocodile from taking the 45-year-old’s pastors body into the lake, near the city of Arba Minch.

The crocodile is believed to have escaped.

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Lake Abaya, Ethiopia’s second largest lake, is quite beautiful, but the Lonely Planet travel guide warns: “It has a very large population of crocodiles, which are known to be aggressive towards humans and animals because the lake has few fish, which is their preferred food option.”

It is more than likely that the reptile that killed Pastor Docho was a Nile Crocodile. Some Nile Crocodiles can grow to be up to around six metres (20ft) long while weighing as much as 1,000kg (1 ton), and some estimates suggest the species is responsible for more than at least 300 attacks on people in Africa every year.

It is believed to be responsible for more attacks on people than any other crocodile species, and it has been said that the Nile Crocodile causes the third highest number of large-animal-related human fatalities in the African continent, after hippos and lions.

One study has noted that for the Nile Crocodile, “an opportunistic, ambush style predator”, humans are “less powerful and slower in water than any similar-sized wild mammal and therefore a much easier prey.”

Henry Sapiecha