Sai Kung, New Territories. Inset: a Burmese python. Photos: Google Maps, HK Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department

A 3-meter-long python killed a masked palm civet in Sai Kung in Hong Kong’s New Territories on Sunday night. At 10pm, villagers in Pik Shui Shan Tsuen heard strange sounds on a hillside and when they checked, they found a python tangling with a masked palm civet, Oriental Daily reported.

The female Burmese python, which was around four or five years old, tried to swallow the civet but failed as it was disturbed by people taking photos of the animals.

Villagers reported the case to police. Officers later arrived along with an expert snake catcher. He separated the two animals and put the python into a bag, but it was too late to save the civet.

Burmese pythons and masked palm civets are protected wild animals in Hong Kong.

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