A snake enthusiast found dead next to his pet python died of asphyxiation, a post-mortem examination has revealed.
Experienced snake handler Dan Brandon, 31, was found with “serious injuries” at his home in Church Crookham, north east Hampshire on 25 August, with an uncaged reptile slithering free, The Sun reported.
A spokesman for the coroner told the newspaper: “The post-mortem has come back and the inquest was opened. His cause of death was asphyxia and he was identified by his mum and dad.
“The full inquest will happen next month.”
Experts will now try to ascertain if the snake had anything to do with Brandon’s death.
According to the Surrey and Hampshire Reptile Rescue, there has never been a case of a python killing someone in Britain before. A spokesman added: “They only kill what they eat,” before informing HuffPost UK he firmly did not believe the snake was involved in the fatality.
In 2013 two young boys were strangled in their sleep by an African rock python in Canada.
Connor and Noah Barth, aged five and seven, were both strangled by the snake that had escaped its cage in a nearby apartment and fallen into the room where the boys were sleeping via a ventilation shaft.
According to the National Geographic: “Some people have had pet pythons that wrapped around their necks and cut off circulation, and they pass out and subsequently died from suffocation... when the victim exhales, that’s the time they squeeze a little bit harder to the point where you can’t really get a breath anymore.”
A spokesman for Hampshire Police said: “We were called at 8.21pm on Friday 25 August to an address in Church Crookham.
“A 31-year-old man had suffered serious injuries and died at the scene. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.”
Brandon’s friend John Cottrell has set up two fundraising pages to benefit animal welfare charities in his memory.
Cottrell wrote: “He was obsessed with snakes, spiders, birds and all wildlife. We have struggled when looking for photos for his funeral to find any when he isn’t holding a spider, snake, small bird, toad, slow worm, hedgehog, feeding a fox, stroking cattle, befriending a cat or a dog. In memory of you Dan… who we will miss SO much.”