Snake expert doubts pet python killed Daniel Brandon


A python owner found dead a year ago in his Basingstoke, England, home was strangled by one of his pet snakes, according to reports.

Babs Brandon told police that her son was a responsible and loving snake owner but that sometimes Tiny would act aggressively toward him.

The African rock python, called Tiny, is believed to have wound herself around the 31-year-old leaving him unable to breathe.

The 31-year-old exotic animal lover died on August 25 in his bedroom, which was also home to nine other snakes and 12 tarantulas.

Andrew Bradley, a coroner from Hampshire, revealed at the Basingstoke Coroners' Court Wednesday that the python was "instrumental" in Brandon's death, the Guardian reported.

"He said she's very strong".

Checking in on him later that evening, she found Brandon unconscious on the floor with Tiny missing from her vivarium.

He was also respectful of her vast strength, taking care not to place her around his neck.

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Brandon's mother, Babs, described Tiny as "strong" and "unpredictable." according to the report.

There were no marks on the victim's neck and he appeared to have tripped while the snake wrapped around him, Bradley said.

Babs did note that Tiny was the most risky of her son's reptiles. "Nobody saw Tiny until later; she had hidden under a box that Dan used to put all his snake stuff in and she had found a way under there and was coiled up".

Since her son's death she has been caring for the snakes. "She could be temperamental, if she didn't want to be held she would pretend to strike or hiss but she never felt threatened by him and he loved her".

Brandon started keeping snakes when he was 15. He told the inquest the snakes were kept in impressive conditions.

"He was an experienced herpetologist who cared for his reptiles and would have had a good relationship with his animals. he did not have them for macho reasons", Cooper told The Guardian. "He [Dan Brandon] would say: "For goodness" sake, Tiny.' At other times he would tell me: 'Mum, you've got to come and look, she's being really good today.' I don't think he ever got bit by Tiny". In the bedroom, Brandon's 12 tarantulas and nine of his snakes were locked away in their vivarium.

"At that point I shook him to try and wake him up and called 999". Officials said there were no specific signs of strangulation, but a pathologist did find burst blood vessels and congested lungs, which both point to asphyxiation. "I have to accept that Tiny is instrumental in Dan's death", Cooper said. The 8-foot python then recoiled and hid after her owner's death "because of the shock of him falling or because of his reaction". "All the family wanted was answers to our questions", she said, "and I have no idea yet whether we have that or ever will".

A fundraising page created in Brandon's honor will contribute funds to the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.