Python Attacks Car, Tourists Flee in Fear: 'That Thing Is Crazy'

Footage has emerged of a dramatic encounter between a group of South African tourists and a giant python.

The 12-strong group were traveling through Mozambique on their way to Ballito near Durban—a city on South Africa's east coast—when they came across the huge snake, News24 reported.

"I couldn't believe it. I had seen a snake in captivity, but I had never seen one up close," one of the tourists, Thomas Bell, told News24.

"I was first in the convoy driving with my boat behind me. We came down a corner and it was lying across the road. We obviously stopped and everyone got out to have a look," he said.

In the first part of the video clip, the snake can be seen underneath a trailer with a boat on it, which is being towed by one the group's vehicles. The snake then starts to slither away and the tourists can be heard urging one member of the group to "grab it" before it disappeared under the boat.

Subsequently, the snake emerges from beneath the other side of the boat and makes its way directly towards the group's white Land Rover.

One of the tourists quickly jumps into the vehicle and reverses away from the snake as the animal mounts the hood. Some of the other group members can be heard laughing hysterically in the background.

As the driver backs up, the snake falls off the hood into the dirt road but continues to chase the reversing Land Rover for a short distance before giving up.

"It's coming for you," one of the group members can be heard shouting, while another says," That thing is crazy."

"When it moved onto the bonnet of the car I was kind of confused and nervous because we didn't know what to expect," Bell said.

The Southern African rock python can measure up to 18 feet in length and weigh as much as 143 pounds, according to the African Snakebite Institute (ASI).

Some scientists consider it to be a subspecies of the African rock python—the continent's largest snake which lives slightly further north—however, others prefer to classify it as an independent species.

Like all pythons, the snake is non-venomous, although it can inflict a "nasty bite," according to the ASI. It kills its prey by constriction using powerful muscles, likely causing death via cardiac arrest rather than asphyxiation or crushing.

African rock pythons eat a large variety of animals, including rodents, small antelopes, fruit bats, monkeys, game birds and even crocodiles. On rare occasions, these pythons have been documented eating the cubs of big cats—such as lions and leopards—and the puppies of wild dogs. In urban residential areas, the snakes have been known to eat rats, dogs and goats, among other animals.

Despite its ability to eat many different creatures, attacks on humans are very rare and fatal incidents involving the snake are even rarer.

Southern African rock python
Stock photo: A Southern African rock python. iStock