Huge python swallows child
Durban - Police are searching for a huge python that reportedly swallowed a child at the weekend.
The boy, aged between five and seven, was picking mangoes in an old orchard near Lamontville on Sunday afternoon.
Inspector Jack Haskins of the Pietermaritzburg dog unit said an older boy, who was sitting in a tree about 100m away, told police he saw the snake catching the boy.
He described how the snake had twisted itself around the boy, took the boy's head into its maw and swallowed him.
On Wednesday police tried to find the group of children who had been picking mangoes. They believe the children may be from the nearby Umlazi settlement.
Craig Smith of the Fitzsimmons Snake Park said the snake must be between 5.5m and 6m in length, judging by marks left in the sand.
The witness's description of the snake's behaviour convinced Smith that the boy had, indeed, been swallowed by a snake.
There were signs of a struggle in the grass and the snake left tracks on its way to a nearby stream. The tracks ended at the waterside.
Smith said it could take up to two months before the snake hunts again.