A 12-year-old pupil of Sibiyirise Primary School in Busia district today became a hero after he singlehandedly wrestled and killed a python.
Opyema Joel, a primary six pupil, had been sent by his parents to harvest yams from a nearby wetland. As Opyema harvested yams a python pounced on him and he fell down. The reptile then started coiling itself around him to attempt to suffocate him. However, he gathered courage and fought for his dear life.
“I used a machete I had carried to the garden and hacked the python as it tried to swallow me up. It had started squirting its saliva over my body in order to eat me up, but I kept hacking its head until it was weakened,” he told Journalism@Mak.
Opyema later on returned to his home, where he lives with his parents, dragging his trophy- the dead python. On his way home, curious on lookers heaped praises on him. He was later taken to Masafu hospital for first aid, just in case.
Barasa Opaka, the Local Council One chairperson of Manyofu A village, said it was the first time in the area for such a young boy to kill a python.
According to Hannington Bulemu, an animal keeper at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, pythons have a similar life span with humans pointing out that they die aged between 60 and 70 years. Bulemu said while in the wild, they live longer because they get treatment and food easily. He also said they suffer from tetanus. "This is why anybody who has been attacked by a python has to get a tetanus treatment." He said.
Pythons are also useful to farmers because they hunt small mammals such as squirrels that sometimes turn into vermin by eating crops.
Pythons are nonvenomous snakes found in Asia, Africa and Australia. There are 41 species of python found within the family Pythonidae, according to the Reptile Database. Some of the species can grow up to 30 feet long and live up to 40 years of age.