In the story a boy notices that their large pet snake hasn’t been eating its food. He calls the vet who tells him the snake is probably fine but to call back if he is still worried. The snake has the run of the house and usually sleeps curled up at the end of the owner’s bed. The owner notices that the snake is still not eating and has started to lie full length on the bed beside him at night. He calls the vet again who asks if there have been any changes in the snakes habits or sleeping pattern. The owner describes how the snake is sleeping stretched out and the vet replies, “You must bring in your snake immediately and have it destroyed. It was starving itself because it wanted to eat you, it lay beside to see if it was long enough to swallow you yet.”
So I thought I’d research the internet to understand what to do if eaten by a snake. I found Army Field Manual instructions on being attacked by a snake:
1. If you see a constrictor approaching, lie down on the ground, keeping your body as straight as possible. DO NOT allow the snake to coil underneath you, in order to avoid being crushed.
2. The snake will begin to swallow you beginning with your feet. DO NOT PANIC. Under no circumstances will the snake be able to bite you at this point. Remain calm and keep your body straight and firm.
3. When the snake has reached your navel, remove your knife from your hip pocket. Turn the knife so that it cuts into the snake’s flesh. At this point, the snake cannot reverse its digestive tract. It has no option but to continue swallowing you.
4. When the snake’s jaws close around your head, finish cutting your way out of the snake’s gut.
5. Don’t forget your knife.