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Missing mother found dead, swallowed whole by 5-metre python in Indonesia

Stock photo of a reticulated python. A massive, five-metre python swallowed an Indonesia woman whole in South Sulawesi province. Paul Starosta/Getty Images

An Indonesian woman was found dead inside the belly of a massive python after she went missing from her village in South Sulawesi province.

Farida, a 45-year-old mother of four, was reported missing on Thursday night by her husband after she failed to return home. Her husband and other residents of Kalempang village quickly organized a search of the surrounding areas, village leader Suardi Rosi told AFP.

South Sulawesi province is a densely forested and mountainous region, and the initial search yielded no sign of the missing woman. Farida’s husband found some of her belongings during the search, according to Rosi, “which made him suspicious.”

The villagers searched the area near where Farida’s belongings were found and they “soon spotted a python with a large belly,” the village leader told AFP.

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“They agreed to cut open the python’s stomach. As soon as they did, Farida’s head was immediately visible.”

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The mother of four was found fully clothed inside the massive, five-metre reticulated python.

A harrowing video showed the moment villagers cut open the snake and found Farida’s body. Her remains were then carried back to the village wrapped in blankets as people from her community stood by the road, distressed and crying at the sight of their dead neighbour.

Pythons kill their prey by squeezing them to death and then they swallow their food whole. Cases of humans being swallowed by pythons are exceedingly rare, as pythons typically hunt smaller prey, but there have been at least five instances of this happening in Indonesia since 2017.

Last year, residents of a village in Southeast Sulawesi killed an eight-metre python after it was found strangling and eating a farmer. In 2022, a rubber tapper from the island of Sumatra was found inside the belly of a python after it swallowed her whole.

In 2018, a woman was found dead inside a seven-metre python, again in Southeast Sulawesi. A year before that, a farmer from West Sulawesi was found swallowed by a four-metre python on a palm oil plantation.

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