A snake lover was strangled to death by his own 8-foot-long pet python after it wrapped itself around him and suffocated him.
An inquest into the death of Dan Brandon, who was found dead in his home, on Wednesday heard that Brandon was tragically killed by his pet, who was named “Tiny.”
Brandon, 31 at his home in Church Crookham in the room in which he kept his snakes, with the pet out of his pen. Church Crookham is suburban village 40 miles outside London.
His parents heard a loud bang from upstairs when preparing dinner and went to check on their son as he had failed to come downstairs, the coroner was told.
Brandon’s parents attempted to perform CPR on him, after noticing Tiny was not in his pen, but he couldn’t be saved.
His mother Babs told Basingstoke Coroners’ Court today he kept 10 snakes and 12 tarantulas in his room at the family home and had had Tiny, an African rock python, since she was small enough to fit in his hand.
Coroner Andrew Bradley recorded a verdict of misadventure and said: “The most likely scenario is that Tiny was engaged with Dan – I have no doubt about that.”
“She was coiling around him, at which point I have no idea. There was a point at which either she takes hold of him unexpectedly or trips him up or some other mechanism.”
Bradley said the snake then hid, probably “because of the shock of him falling or because of his reaction.”
He added that Brandon was asphyxiated “as a result of contact with Tiny,” and that he “cannot see any other reason” for the death.
The coroner added: “Tiny is instrumental in the death but that does not mean this was through aggression. This could have been a confrontation of affection.”
“It is a moment of peace and quiet with Tiny that has gone wrong for whatever reason.”
Brandon’s parents, brother and sister were in court, and his mother told the coroner that the snake loved her son, he never felt threatened by Tiny, and that Dan was aware of how strong she was.
The Brandon family said that he had always been wary of Tiny but that she was his “baby,” and had stopped putting her around his neck as he did with all of his other snakes.
His mother said: “Tiny would sometimes get a bit cross with me, she would be saying ‘leave him [Dan] alone.’”
“I would hear Dan shouting sometimes, saying ‘for goodness sake Tiny’ and I would shout back upstairs, ‘they are deaf Dan.’”
Brandon’s mother still looks after the snakes and showed off a bite she has on her hands that another snake gave her ten days ago.
She added: “If Tiny had bitten Dan before strangling him there would have been a much bigger bite mark on him than this one.”
Non-venomous pythons kill by wrapping around their prey and squeezing them to death.
A spokeswoman for Surrey and Hampshire Reptile Rescue previously told The Sun: “There’s never been a case of a python killing someone in Britain before. They only kill what they eat.”
Brandon’s social media presence showed him with a number of snakes around his neck.
A JustGiving page set up in his memory is raising money for the World Wildlife Fund.
It read: “Dan unexpectedly passed away at home. He was obsessed with snakes, spiders, birds and all wildlife.