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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
HK woman grapples pet from python
Burmese python
The biggest Burmese python has weighed in at 180kg
A Hong Kong woman kicked and punched a 4.5 metre (15 foot) Burmese python to wrest free her pet dog after the snake wrapped itself around it.

Catherine Leonard grappled with the python after it attacked Poppy during a walk in the Sai Kung country park.

Ms Leonard, 41, said she heard "a yelping that was like a scream".

She said she acted because she remembered a husky dog was crushed by a python last year in the same area despite the owner's attempt to save it.

'Shaken and scared'

Ms Leonard told the South China Morning Post she had been alerted by the barking of one of her other dogs.

These two attacks have both been close to the family walk... A small child would weigh less than my dog
Catherine Leonard

"I'm not sure exactly what I did but I kicked it and I tried to pull Poppy free. The snake was twisted around her.

"Somehow Poppy managed to get away and the python slithered away. It was all over in about a minute."

Ms Leonard said she was "shaken afterwards and really scared".

"If I'd had the chance to think about it, I wouldn't have done what I did, but I hear the dog in distress and I just waded in there."

Snake expert Dave Willott told the AFP news agency that Poppy would have been "unconscious within two minutes and dead within five".

He said it was unusual for the dog to have been released.

"They usually don't let go, not when they've locked onto their prey."

Burmese pythons can grow to a weight of 180kg (400 pounds) and a length of eight metres.

Ms Leonard warned action should be taken to relocate the python.

"These two attacks have both been close to the family walk... A small child would weigh less than my dog."

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