Police in urban Japan were Monday probing the death of a man whose body was found next to a 6.5-metre (21 foot) python.
Shoji Fujita, 66, was found dead outside his home in Ushiku city, 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of Tokyo, with a reticulated pythonsitting next to him, a local police spokesman said.
The snake was kept by his son, who operated an exotic pet store in the same city, the spokesman said.
Fujita died after telling his wife he was going outside to check the temperature of a locked reptile compound next to the couple’s house.
When he failed to return, the woman went to check and found her recumbent husband with bite marks on his head and right arm, said the spokesman, adding that an autopsy was being carried out to determine the cause of death.
“We believe there is a high likelihood of an accident,” in which somehow the snake got out of its container and killed Fujita, the police spokesman said.
The reticulated python, which is native to Southeast Asia, is a carnivore that kills its prey by constriction.
The snake’s usual diet is animals up to the size of a primate or pig, but a small number of fatal attacks on humans have been reported, with some attacks resulting in the victim being swallowed whole.