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21-Foot Python Found Next to Japanese Man's Dead Body But Did It Kill Him?


USHIKU CITY, Japan (The Blaze/AFP) -- Police in urban Japan on Monday were probing the death of a man whose body was found next to a 21-foot (6.5-meter) python.

Shoji Fujita, 66, was found dead outside his home in Ushiku city, 30 miles northeast of Tokyo, with a reticulated python next to him, a local police spokesman said.

Fujita was found with bite marks and bleeding but given that pythons are non-venoumous that squeeze prey to death, his cause of death is still being officially determined.

(Related: 'Blood-curdling scream' brings mother to aid of toddler being squeezed by python)

The snake was kept by his son, who operated an exotic pet store in the same city, the spokesman continued.

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, the spokesman said.

"We believe there is a high likelihood of an accident," in which the snake got out of its container and killed Fujita, the police spokesman said.

The Japan Times has a few more details:

"I was keeping (the python) with approval from the Ibaraki Prefectural Government," Fujita's son was quoted as saying by police.

Keeping or selling reticulated pythons requires the approval of local governments, according to the Welfare and Management of Animals Law.

The reticulated python, native to Southeast Asia, is a carnivore that kills its prey by constriction.

(Related: Animal control struggles to remove 13-foot Burmese python from Florida family's pool)

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.

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