Robert Nababan, 37, was hailed as a badass by people in his village in the Indagiri Hulu regency of Riau when he claimed he wrestled a 7-meter long python to death, but it turned out the snake actually got the better of him.
Robert, who is reportedly still in the hospital recovering from his injuries from his encounter with the snake, previously told journalists that he first saw the python as he was driving home on his motorcycle from his job as a security guard at a palm oil plantation near his village on Saturday evening. He then said he wrestled with the snake as he tried to catch it, getting bitten in the arm, before his family prevented journalists from asking more questions, saying that Robert needed to rest.
But, several days after the incident, the police carried out an investigation and now say they have the full story of what actually happened on Saturday.
According to Sutarja, chief of the Batang Gangsal police precinct, Robert called his friends after seeing the python — who was minding its own business — lying on the road. Some of his friends came to help him catch the snake. Robert was tasked with immobilizing the python’s head.
“When Robert tried to cover the snake’s head with a sack, the snake retaliated. The snake bit his arm. The victim (Robert, not the snake) tried to get free, but the snake tightened its bite. The snake even tried to grip (Robert). Several of Robert’s friends tried to help him. Soon after, the snake released its bite,” Sutarja said, as quoted by Kompas yesterday.
Some of Robert’s friends then took him to the hospital, while others remained and killed the poor snake.
“The snake was fried (to be eaten) by locals. The victim (Robert) often catches snakes,” Sutarja said.
Meanwhile, Robert’s wife said he’s still resting in the hospital bed, exhausted from the incident. Doctors say he has a severed tendon in his left arm from the snake’s bite.
While it looks like this was a case of a human attacking a reptile, there have been several deadly reptile attacks on humans in Indonesia this year. In March, a man in West Sulawesi wasn’t as lucky when he encountered a 7-meter python (rescuers found him dead inside the snake’s stomach, having been swallowed whole). More recently, four people, including a “crocodile shaman”, have fallen victim to reported crocodile attacks throughout Indonesia.