Python snake
Security guard Robert Nababan encountered the snake while patrolling an oil palm plantation - Representational Image Getty

A giant python that attacked an Indonesian man and nearly severed his arm was overcome, killed and eaten by local people on Wednesday (4 October).

Security guard Robert Nababan, 37, encountered the snake while patrolling an oil palm plantation in remote Batang Gansal, a subdistrict of Sumatra island, on Saturday.

Nababan tried to catch the 7.8m (26ft) long python, but it attacked him. Some reports say that Nababan, who sometimes liked to eat snake, tried to catch the giant python and stuff it in a gunny sack.

"I have heard from friends that they are really tasty," Elinaryon, head of the Batang Gansal district government, said about pythons.

"I mean it's a 7m snake — that's a lot of meat! The blood, some people believe, has healing qualities and can be used in medicine."

Nababan, who spoke to the BBC, did not clearly explain why he tried to catch the python, but said there were villagers who could not cross the road because of the snake.

The man and reptile wrestled each other, until Nababan killed it with the help of some villagers. The huge serpent bit him on his left arm, nearly severing it from his body.

A local police chief, Sutarja, said that Nababan was alive only because of the intervention of another security guard and several local residents, one of whom had hit the snake with a log.

Nababan was then rushed to a hospital in a neighbouring town for treatment where he is still recovering, Elinaryon said.

Nababan told Indonesian news outlet Detik, "I tried to catch it, my hand was bitten, and I managed to wrestle it." An official told the BBC that Nababan's hand was badly injured and doctors "might have to cut it off".

The locals later killed the snake and displayed its body in the village before dicing it up, frying it and feasting on it.

Pythons, which regularly top 6m in length, are commonly found in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Earlier in March, a 25-year-old Indonesian farmer was found inside the belly of a giant python after the swollen snake was caught from the place the man went missing. The man is said to have gone missing while harvesting his crops on the eastern island of Sulawesi.