Watch: Port Edward’s dog-eating python rehomed

A python that was caught and released into a nature reserve is believed to have eaten about three dogs in the past two months.

Snake catcher Emile Rencken (40) was glad to help remove a Southern African python, commonly known as a ‘rock python’, that was trapped on the veranda of a resident’s home in Port Edward in KZN on Thursday.

When Rencken grabbed the snake, it still had a ‘lump in its body’ because, sadly, it had eaten the resident’s dog.

“I grabbed the python, but it immediately wanted to regurgitate its food. I quickly put the snake down, so it could regurgitate it, and then I picked it [the snake] up again and put it into the sack.”

About two months ago, residents reported that they had lost two dogs to the python.

The rock python before it was safely caught and released. Photo: Facebook.

Rencken has been catching snakes around Port Edward since the age of 12. He has worked on movie sets catching snakes, and has a great passion for the reptiles.

He now lives in Palm Beach, and most locals know he will come to fetch snakes.

“Everyone was calling me that morning, so shame, I just went and fetched the python, with the help of my wife, Tamryn-Jade. My son, Cooper-Jon (5), took the video,” he says.

He released the python, measuring just under four metres, in Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, where, he says, he has released many snakes before, including black mambas.

“Now this python can be with all his mates from town,” says Rencken.

Emile Rencken with the rock python he released at Umtamvuna Nature Reserve.

“Sometimes a python will get into a chicken cage, eat two or three chickens and then not be able to get out again,” he adds.

Rencken says it’s important that pythons (and dangerous snakes) are released as far from humans as possible, especially this python because it seems to have developed a habit of eating dogs.

Interestingly, male pythons can weigh up to 44kg and reach up to 4.25m in length, whereas females can weigh up to 55kg and reach 5m in length.

Emile Rencken with a black spitting cobra in Kakamas while filming Maze Runner 3.
Emile Rencken with a big black mamba at Clearwaters.

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