WATCH: Nightmare-inducing 19.5-Foot Python Captured After Swallowing Goat Whole

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Just after sunrise on the morning of September 28, the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department, State of Johor, received an unsettling call. The caller explained that he was a goat farmer in the area. He had ventured out to his goat pen for their morning meal and found a horrifying visitor sharing their enclosure.

Inside the goat pen was a massive python. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, one of his goats was missing. The fire department sent seven brave crewmen to the scene, led by their Senior Fire Officer, who confirmed the farmer’s terrifying report.

In the pen, they found a reticulated python, one of the longest snakes in the world, lazing contentedly among the goats with a disturbingly full belly. This particular snake measured 19.5 feet in length and weighed a staggering 170 pounds.

“Upon reaching the destination, we found a six-meter snake inside the goat pen,” Johor Fire and Rescue Department told Malaymail. “The breeder claimed that one of his female goats was missing and was believed to have been swallowed by the snake.”

The crew later shared the experience on their Facebook page, posting photos and videos of the python’s capture and subsequent transport.

In total, the firemen spent about an hour tranquilizing, removing, and transporting the snake from the pen. It took seven men to carry the snake to the awaiting fire truck, the eighth recording the unbelievable scene.

After loading the python into the truck, they transported it to “an area far away from the public,” before releasing it back into the wild.

Though reticulated pythons are native to the area, this was the first such complaint the department received. Thankfully, there were no injuries or fatalities, apart from the poor goat.

Reticulated Python Are a Threatened Species

Reticulated pythons are among the top three largest snakes in the world, their size overshadowed only by Burmese pythons and green anacondas. That said, they’re still absolutely enormous. Native to South Asia, the reticulated python can grow upwards of 20 feet in length and exceed 300 pounds in weight.

They’re often hunted for their skins, for use in traditional medicine, and sold as pets. As such, they’re included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Despite this, however, the species population remains relatively stable.

Incredibly, many reticulated pythons have evaded capture by colonizing their own islands. Though they can only move about 1 mile per hour on open ground, pythons are excellent swimmers. Many have used this ability to venture into the sea, creating new homes on the small islands off the coast.

Like others of its species, reticulated pythons are carnivorous but non-venomous. Rather than biting their prey, the elephantine snakes coil their bodies around their meal, killing it by constriction. They then use the flexible ligament between their jaws to open wide and swallow their prey whole.