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Police find body lying 'among 50 snakes'

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Police find body lying 'among 50 snakes'
Photo: DPA
10:15 CEST+02:00
German police looking for a missing man discovered him dead in his home surrounded by nearly 50 snakes. His size, experts said on Wednesday, stopped the animals from eating his corpse, as he was too wide to be swallowed whole.

Heiko R, an avid 40-year-old snake collector, had 46 serpents living in his house in Straubing, Bavaria, Bild newspaper said. He had begun collecting them at the age of 16, the paper said.

His colleagues called the police after the caretaker had failed to turn up for work for a week. Officers found his body on the floor, decomposed due to the high temperatures from the animals' terrariums.

There were, they told the paper, an eight-metre long anaconda and four pythons up to nine metres long slithering free around the house. “One was as thick as a human thigh,” said a fireman present at the scene.

Forty-one other snakes including tiger pythons and king pythons, were in tanks – all were registered and legally allowed to be kept as pets. None of the animals were poisonous.

The snakes have a new home at a reptile home in Munich. The reptile centre's boss, Markus Baur, told Bild that the snakes did not eat the body because “they like to eat their prey whole and the average European is too long and too wide for that.”

An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday and police confirmed that the death appeared neither suspicious nor like suicide. He most likely died of natural causes.

The Local/jcw

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