Most of us think of the loo as, among other things, a refuge from the stresses, if not the strains, of everyday life.
It is somewhere we can sit down and relax in complete privacy, confident that nothing will disturb us.
I’m sure that’s what an unnamed 65-year-old Austrian man assumed as he locked the door of his loo in the city of Graz at 6am the other day and took up his position.
Sadly, his confidence was misplaced.
He had just sat down when, according to police reports, he felt a sudden ‘pinch in the genital area’.
Eek! ‘As he subsequently looked around, he discovered a snake in the bathroom,’ continues the police report. ‘It was an albino reticulated python, roughly 1.6 m long.’
An unnamed 65-year-old Austrian man was bitten on the genitals by a snake while using the toilet, writes CRAIG BROWN
The poor man was rushed to Graz University Hospital. After a close examination, doctors found that he had suffered only a slight wound.
As for the python, it was taken into custody.
The police subsequently discovered that it belonged to a 24-year-old man in the same block of flats, the proud owner of further ten snakes, plus a gecko.
No one is sure how the python made its Colditz-style escape from its owner’s flat into the loo in the flat below, but the evidence suggests it slithered through a waterpipe.
Who knows? Perhaps it took the added precaution of disguising itself with a moustache and a beret before it set off.
As the unknown Austrian nurses his wounds, he may well be feeling rather sorry for himself.
Certainly, most of us are likely to complete our lives without being being bitten ‘in the genital area’ by a rogue python while on the loo, so in this sense he had bad luck.
On the other hand, perhaps he should count his blessings. It could have been worse.
Five years ago a 38-year-old Thai man, Mr Attaporn Boonmakchuay, found himself attacked by a 10ft python, which popped his head out of the loo and sunk its teeth into his private parts.
The python then began ‘yanking very hard’, while poor Mr Boonmakchuay and his wife tried to wrestle it off.
But the python wouldn’t let go. Eventually, Mr Boonmakchuay managed to prise its jaws apart while his doughty wife tied a rope around it and pulled it away.
The disappointed python then retreated back into the body of the loo. Presumably, it planned to stay there until the fuss was over, then steal away.
But it was outwitted. As the victim was rushed to hospital, plumbers dismantled the loo so the python could be extracted.
It was then released into the wild with neither a police caution, nor the indignity of a sack being placed over its head, as is customary with human wrongdoers.
If anyone happens to be reading this handy round-up of loo-based python attacks while sitting on the loo, I should stress that they are few and far between in the UK, so the odds are that you will emerge intact.
As Nick Ross used to say on Crimewatch: ‘Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well.’
On the other hand, it would be just as well to keep your eyes open. Back in June, 2003, Tracey, an 11ft, 4 stone Burmese python escaped from her glass tank in a garage in Wincobank Lane, Sheffield.
Her usual diet was rabbits and rats, but her owner, a Mr Paul Tomlinson, warned the BBC that: ‘If she sees a cat or a dog, she will go for it, bite it and crush it.’
She was eventually found curled up asleep on some nearby allotments ‘She is a little bit upset and a little bit grumpy, hissing and struggling, so I’m going to give her a couple of rabbits,’ said Mr Tomlinson.
Like all pythons, Tracey, who had also escaped the year before, has detachable upper and lower jaws, allowing her to swallow prey five times her body diameter.
I am no expert, but this suggests that she would find it no trouble to swallow someone petite, like Tom Cruise or — heaven forfend! — Kim Kardashian, who is only 5ft 2in.
She would probably find someone wider, like Ann Widdecombe or taller, like Richard Osman, a bit of a mouthful.
A Burmese python, resident in Salt Lake City, lived to the grand old age of 43, so Tracey may still be going strong.
If I were Tom or Kim, I would definitely avoid Wincobank Lane, Sheffield and surrounding areas, just to be on the safe side.