A lover of exotic animals died of asphyxia after his 8ft long pet African rock python called Tiny wrapped itself around him, a coroner has ruled.
Dan Brandon was found dead by his mother, Babs, in his bedroom in Hampshire, with the python concealed close by.
The coroner for north-east Hampshire, Andrew Bradley, recorded a verdict of misadventure, saying he believed the python was “instrumental” in Brandon’s death. He made clear he did not believe the snake had been aggressive towards its owner, but the most likely scenario was that the reptile had been coiling around him in an affectionate way.
Brandon, 31, died in the village of Church Crookham, on 25 August. As well as Tiny, his bedroom was home to another nine snakes and 12 tarantulas.
The inquest in Basingstoke was told that Brandon was a responsible snake owner who loved his pets. His mother told the inquest that Tiny sometimes appeared aggressive.
She said: “She would get cross and hiss and pretend to strike. He [Brandon] would say: ‘For goodness’ sake, Tiny.’ At other times he would tell me: ‘Mum, you’ve got to come and look, she’s being really good today.’ I don’t think he ever got bit by Tiny.
“He was more wary of Tiny than the other snakes. He said she’s very strong. He had stopped putting her round his neck because she was so strong and unpredictable.”
Since her son’s death, Mrs Brandon has been caring for Tiny. She showed the court a hand injury she had recently suffered when another of his snakes bit her