A 25-year-old Indonesian man swallowed whole by a python on the island of Sulawesi was likely ambushed from behind, villagers have said.
A six-minute video obtained by CBS News on Wednesday shows villagers slicing open the python’s carcass to reveal the legs and torso of the dead victim, named Akbar.
Junaedi, the secretary of Salubiro village in West Sulawesi province, told The Associated Press that villagers began searching for Akbar on Monday night after realizing he hadn’t returned from working on his palm oil crops the previous day.
Junaedi said Wednesday that the search party found scattered palm oil fruit, a picking tool and a boot, and then spotted the engorged 23-foot-long reticulated python.
“We saw a python that couldn’t move properly and its belly was swollen,” said Asdin Rudi Fathir, 43, according to the Retuers news agency.
“We killed the python and dragged it out from the bush. It takes quite a while to drag it out because the snake is big and heavy,” Junaedi said. “After that, we touched the snake’s belly and felt like legs with a boot inside the belly, then we cut open the belly.”
“When its stomach was cut, we first saw his boot and legs near the neck,” he said. “It seems he was attacked from behind because we found a wound on his back.”
Fathir said people at the scene were “shocked to find a human body inside.”
Reticulated pythons grab onto their prey with dozens of sharp curved teeth and then squeeze it to death before swallowing it whole. They are widespread in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Reports of humans being killed by pythons are extremely rare. In the wild they are known to eat monkeys, pigs and other mammals.
Junaedi said Akbar’s absence wasn’t noticed until Monday because his wife was visiting her parents in another province. The alarm was raised when his uncle called on him and found his house locked.
Like many Indonesians, Junaedi uses one name, as did Akbar.