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Above) A nine-foot "scrub python" in northern Australia (near the city of Cairns) stalked and ate Dot, Keri Stewart's Jack Russell terrier puppy, the week before Christmas, 2009, then vanisehd back into the rainforest upon which her neighborhood intrudes.

But knowing a good hunting ground when it found one, the same snake was back in March, 2010, again stalking family pets in the backyard garden of the Stewart home on the periphery of the forest.

This time it grabbed Stewart's chihuahua, but she rushed to its rescue and literally pulled it out of the fangs of the giant. Later that day, snake handler Stuart Douglas of the Australian Venom Zoo of Kuranda (scrub pythons of course are not venomous) came and captured the python. The snake was released well away from homes.

Keri Stewart, however, could not get over the incident, having also a son to worry about, and so she moved out of her home. [Photo by Marc McCormack, with Dot inset.]

Below) In Queensland, Australia, again near the city of Cairns on February 2008, a sixteen foot python entered a family's house and ate three of their pets, a guinea pig, a cat, and five year old Scotty the chihuahua.

Homeowner Daniel Peric said they'd been watching out for the snake outdoors as it had been stalking the chiihuahua for days. They didn't expect it to follow the little dog's scent into the house.

Peric said, "We had air conditioning ducts installed. Now I'm petrified a snake will get in here and take the children." Their home is surrounded by bushland and Peric now says, "I'm never leaving them alone in any part of the house."

They actually caught the snake in the process of swallowing Scotty who it had already squeezed to death. "It was pretty gutwrenching," said Peric, but not so much so that he neglected to grab a camera. "We threw chairs and sticks at the python but it was already too late, our dear dog was halfway down its throat."

The native Australian scub python's natural diet historically was mostly wallabies. But as suburbia spreads, they've more and more learned to hunt gardens for cats and dogs.

This one was captured and taken to Australian Venom Zoo, where they named it Fluffy. A full two weeks later, as a basic tactic to help it better seek to escape, it regurgitated the dog. It was afterward returned to the wild, far from human (and pet) habitation.


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