Video: Giant snake slithers in to Lowestoft school

Year 7 students from Ormiston Denes Academy get to meet a 16ft Burmese Python. Owner, Mike Anderson

Year 7 students from Ormiston Denes Academy get to meet a 16ft Burmese Python. Owner, Mike Anderson holding the head of the snake. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Snakes alive!

Students at a Lowestoft school had a natural hiss-s-s-s-s-tory lesson they will never forget after a mighty snake slithered its way into their classroom.

The students at Ormiston Denes Academy had a scaly surprise after a 16ft Burmese python visited on Monday and soon put the squeeze on them.

And the brave youngsters even managed to get up close and personal to the reptile as they took turns to hold the enormous beast, which welcomed them with its flicking tongue.

The python belongs to Mike and Helen Anderson, who rescued it 10 years ago from a flat in Lowestoft as the animal was being kept in bad conditions.

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As Mr Anderson handled the python, which does not have a proper name as it is unsexed, he told the students how it was normally very docile and liked human contact as it helped warm the creature up.

And the cold-blooded python seemed to relish the chance of being held by the students as their warm hands stirred it into action – but luckily for the youngsters it showed no sign of constricting them as its latest prey.

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By holding the python the students also discovered that the clichés of snakes being slimy and clammy were totally unfounded.

Madison Nicol, aged 12, said: 'It was really exciting holding it. The snake was not slimy at all.'

Brendan Warner, 12, said: 'It was really nice. I wasn't frightened by holding it.'

During his talk, Mr Anderson told the students the python weighed more than 8st and when he rescued it it was only 6ft long – meaning it had nearly trebled in size in the last 10 years.

Mr Anderson, who works for Hercules Hydraulics East Coast, and his wife Helen, who is a teacher at Ormiston Denes Academy, take their lengthy pet on visit to groups and classes in the area.

He said: 'As we don't know its sex we have called it Crusher and even Gary in the past. But snakes don't answer to names.

'I am from South Africa so I have always been around snakes. They are just fascinating animals.

'It is great to let the youngsters meet and handle it as they all think snakes are slimy – and they are not.'

Mrs Anderson said: 'Bringing in the snake is a great way of letting the students learn about nature and get a real hands-on experience of wildlife.'

Burmese pythons are from India and east Asia

In the wild Burmese pythons are on average 12ft long and they kill their prey of small mammals and birds by constricting them and swallowing them whole.

In captivity they can live for up to 20 years.

Thousands of miles away from their natural habitat, Burmese pythons are causing havoc in America as they have escaped as pets into the Everglades in Florida where they are flourishing.

When the snakes reach full size they have no natural predators and can wreak havoc on native ecosystems in the Everglades – resulting in large scale manhunts for them.

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