On Thursday, an African Rock python spotted at Karura Forest caused quite a stir on social media.

The huge serpent, spotted by Friends of Karura Forest Chief Scout John Chege is thought to have wandered from the Ruaka River, either in search of prey or to shed its skin.

Whatever the case may be, we are crazy freaked out!!

5 Fascinating facts about the African Rock Python:

  1. Like all pythons, this snake is non-venomous. It kills by constriction, ambushing and coiling around its prey, and tightening its coils every time the victim breathes out. Death happens by cardiac arrest, rather than by asphyxiation or crushing.
  2. African rock pythons feed on everything from birds and bats to medium-sized mammals. The larger python captures warthogs, bushbucks, and even crocodiles, swallowing them whole. Poultry, dogs, and goats are also at risk of attack. A huge meal takes months to digest.
  3. African rock pythons lay 20–100 hard-shelled, elongated eggs in an old animal burrow, termite mound or cave. The female coils around her clutch, protecting them from predators and possibly helping to incubate them, and guards the babies for up to two weeks after hatching.
  4. Pythons are among the most primitive of snakes in evolutionary terms. With two functioning lungs (more advanced snakes have only one) and small thorn-like projections on the lower body. These are known as pelvic spurs, which are presumed to be the vestiges of hind limbs.
  5. Scientists recognize two subspecies of the African rock pythonPython sebae sebae (African rock python) and the slightly smaller Python sebae natalensis (Southern African rock python). The smaller Python sebae natalensis, is found in southern Tanzania and further southward, and is believed to be a completely separate species: Python natalensis.

Professor Karanja Njoroge, the Chairman of Friends of Karura Forest, has warned patrons not to corner the snake when they see it, but to let it be and keep to designated tracks.

“The snakes won’t attack unless totally cornered. It is completely harmless to humans greater than 20kg in weight,”

said Prof Karanja.

So if you feel like seeing a giant snake, head on down to the Karura Forest.

Courtesy of Nairobi News, Standard digital and safaribookings.com.