Harare – It’s every driver in southern Africa’s nightmare: Open up your car bonnet and find a huge python curled up inside.
Footage recently uploaded to YouTube appears to show a driver in Zimbabwe doing just that.
The man – who isn’t named – walks cautiously round to the front of a Zimbabwe-registered truck on a dirt track and finds the creature coiled on top of the engine.
He grabs the snake near its head and, with help from another man, extricates it from the engine and drops it in the thick grass by the side of the road.
The snake is writhing as it is carried but cannot bite the man because it is held on its neck.
From inside the car come the excited voices of children.
“Daddy, no, no: Don’t put that thing in the car!” shouts one.
There are other comments: “It’s spitting… it’s a rattlesnake” and then, hardly surprisingly: “Oh, that is a monster.”
Though the footage was uploaded this week and is causing a buzz on social media, it’s not clear when or where in Zimbabwe it was filmed. There are two cars in the clip: it may be that one driver summoned the other for help.
Pythons are found in many places in Zimbabwe. In November last year, a 2.5m long one was found abandoned on a bus in the east of the country.
The snakes are protected animals in Zimbabwe. To be found in possession of a skin can land you in jail, as a man from southern Lupane found out to his cost last month.
He was slapped with a nine-year jail sentence after killing a python that had been eating his goats and displaying its skin in his house.
Pythons squeeze their victims. A tetanus injection is needed if you are bitten by a python.
The tagline under the YouTube post reads: “Always check under your hood.”