Huge python is late to staff meeting at Chinese bank, comes through the ceiling

Nature

You’ve made it to the bank you work at, if a little bleary eyed, and it’s time for the morning staff meeting.

Suddenly, a 1.5 metre (5 foot) python plops down from the ceiling literally inches from where you were standing.

It sounds like a terrible dream, but that’s exactly what happened last Friday morning to some startled workers at the Xin Cheng branch of China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the ABC.

As you can see in the GIF above, the staff members quickly run when they realise what’s just landed next to them.

However, the snake isn’t too fond of the situation either, slithering as fast as it can to find a quiet spot behind a sofa.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident, snake included.

According to the China Central Television Plus (CCTV+) news website, the snake was a python, but we don’t know the exact species.

Like all pythons, this one was not venomous, as pythons constrict and suffocate their prey, instead of paralysing it with a bite.

Some species of python have been known to grow to 6.1 metres (20 feet) or more, so this ceiling snake was relatively small, although we’re sure it was plenty big for the bank staff whose meeting it tried to join.

The only python species found in China in the wild is the Burmese python (Python bivittatus), which are commonly kept as pets, eaten, or used in traditional medicine.

CCTV+ reports that it’s possible this particular specimen was a pet snake of someone nearby, so it might have been another species, imported into China’s growing exotic pet market.

The boom in the desire for exotic pets in China is thought to be compounding the ecological impact of illegal wildlife trade, as traded exotic species are often poached from the wild.

Whether this python was legal or not, staff from the city’s wildlife conservation centre were called to remove the snake from the bank, and business was soon able to return to normal.

weibo image snake python bank caught(Nan Guo Zao Bao/Weibo)

The conservation centre staff said the snake weighed about 5 kilograms (11 pounds).

But the craziest thing about the whole story? This isn’t the first time a runaway snake has slithered into this particular bank branch.

Last year, wildlife workers were called to the same location to collect a different python.

We can’t help thinking that maybe the python just really wanted this job.

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