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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 15:43 GMT
Kenyans charmed by snake
Africa python
Pythons constrict their prey

A snake said to have mythical powers has been attracting large crowds to a Kenyan village.

The 16-foot-long python which the Kenyan Daily Nation newspaper calls Omweri, is being protected by youths eager to keep excited visitors away.

The paper reported that students from neighbouring schools abandoned classes on Monday to take a look at the python described by villagers as "a fortune bringer".

Mrs Benta Otieno, on whose compound the snake is said to be living, says it has a daily diet of a loaf of bread, two hens, frogs and plenty of water.

Chased away

Local police were said to have been sent away when they came to investigate.

The villagers in Nyakach District are insisting on looking after the python themselves.

The snake is currently brooding on four big eggs and this is causing both anxiety and excitement.

Claims that visitors are being charged to see the snake have been denied by one villager.

He told the Daily Nation: "We only collect voluntary fees. From this money we buy food to feed the snake."

As regards its special powers, it would seem the python, which first appeared a fortnight ago, has indeed brought some good fortune to the villagers.

Especially to traders who have been making a profit from selling water, snacks and porridge to visitors.

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson
"She is the most famous snake in the country"

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