‘Python Eats Drunk Man in India’ is a Hoax but Goes Viral Anyway

November 30, 2013 Updated: December 1, 2013

A report titled “Python Eats Drunk Guy in India” is a hoax. The image has been circulated around the Internet for the past several years and has different content each time.

The latest “report” was circulated by an Indian “financial professional” via Twitter, getting 15,000 retweets over the past several days.

“A Python ate a person who was drunk and lying beside the liquor shop. News from Attapady, Kerala,” it reads.

However, the same image–which shows a large snake with a huge object inside of it–has been used similar “reports” from Indonesia, China, and other countries since at least 2012. It is unclear where the photo originated or what the snake ate.

It’s entirely possible for the snake to have eaten a human, but as About.com urban legends writer David Emery points out, the photo “more likely than not documents a python digesting a goat or a deer.”

Elaborating on the hoax, he wrote: “Depending on which version of the story you read, the overstuffed python above swallowed a drunk guy in India, an unknown woman in South Africa, an unknown man in Qujing, China, a person of unknown gender in Indonesia, or a 4-year-old child in Malaysia.”

Another article that’s getting heavy play on social media sites is located on the http://lordsofthedrinks.wordpress.com website.

“When you drink hard, you might find yourself waking up in very strange places. However in some countries it’s quite risky to drink till you drop. A drunk man in India was taking a well-deserved nap outside a liquor store today, when he was discovered by a huge python,” it reads.

It later updated the article, saying “well the comment section is booming. A lot of replies indicate that this post is a hoax. Well, all we can say is that if it is, we didn’t (sic) started it.”

Credible media outlets that have covered the report say its a hoax, but others have been fooled. Russian state-run website Pravda, which was the Communist Party mouthpiece for decades, covered the story, without offering any sources.

There have been few reports of large snakes eating humans in recent years. In South Africa, a 20-foot-long python ate a 10-year-old boy in 2002.

Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia but have thrived in South Florida, namely in the Everglades, and are now considered an invasive species.

A python ate two cats last month in Florida, and another ate a deer in 2011 in the Everglades. Earlier this year, a 20-foot-long Python was caught in Florida, weighing in at 128 pounds–the largest python ever caught in the state.