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Lightning Strike Hits Giant Snake Starts Fire

Chinese villagers that got together to extinguish a small forest fire discovered it had been caused when a giant snake known to have lived in the nearby woodland that had been struck by lightning.

The four-metre long python had been terrifying locals for years after it was known to have taken young animals for lunch, and it was rumoured that even a full-grown man and certainly a child would get into difficulties if attacked by the giant snake.

But the problem is now past after the snake turned itself into a giant lightning conductor which set fire to the tree it had crawled to the top of at Bazhong, in Sichuan province, in southwest China.

The regional fire chief On Shih, 47, was quoted in local media as saying that the wet body of the python which had stretched the length of the tree had been the perfect conductor when the lightning bolt struck the beast – setting fire to the tree and killing the snake instantly - then cooking it.

The blaze burnt just over 3000 square metres of forest and took two hours and 30 villagers to extinguish.

Villager Wu T'an, 64, said: "People were sad to have seen so much woodland destroyed but when they realised that the huge snake was dead that everyone had been worried about for years there was a celebration.

"Instead of eating one of us, we were able to eat the snake. It was a real feast day."

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