A python, which was claimed to be the world's longest snake, has died in Malaysia, just days after it was discovered. With mystery shrouding the reptile's death, a Malaysian government authority said it could have been a "suicide".
The reticulated python, measuring about eight metres long, was initially found by construction workers on Penang island while they were building a flyover. However, the giant creature, weighing about 250kg, died after laying an egg, amid concerns over mishandling of the snake.
"Maybe she committed suicide. Maybe she felt threatened so she killed herself," Shazree Mustapha, a spokesperson with Malaysia's Civil Defence Force, was cited as saying by the Guardian. He insisted that the python "died on her own".
Another spokesperson added: "We are so sad this happened. We have rescued many other snakes and animals before. We're not sure why the snake died. We fed it mice, other meats and gave (it) water, just like we gave other snakes in the past."
An inquiry has been initiated into what caused the death of the snake. Officials have confirmed the python died in captivity.
Shortly after the snake was discovered, a video showing a man kicking the reptile emerged. Construction workers were also seen holding the python with a noose around its neck.
It is also being contested whether the snake was actually longer than Medusa, the world's longest snake. Reports suggest the snake was re-measured to be 7.5 metres instead of 8 metres – which, if proven, would make the snake 17 centimetres shorter than the world's longest snake. The Malaysian snake has not yet been officially measured by record-keepers.