Drones join the hunt for massive python on the loose near Warsaw
Drones are scouring the banks of Poland's River Vistula just south of Warsaw for a five-metre Indian python which authorities have warned could be hungry and aggressive.
Police in Piaseczno, close to the Polish capital, have asked people to stay away from the river until the renegade reptile is recovered.
Four drones, part of a search team of four boats and up to 80 volunteers, police officers and firefighters, have taken more than 2,000 photographs which are being studied by wildlife experts hoping to spot the snake lurking in the wooded banks of Poland's longest river.
Native to India, Sri Lanka and south-east Asia, Indian pythons can reach six-metres long and can swallow a deer whole, although there are no reports of them eating people.
Adam Hryniewicz, a zoologist at Warsaw Zoo, said that, if scared, they can bite and could even break limbs by coiling themselves around their victim.
The only trace of the snake so far has been a huge shed skin, which triggered the hunt when it was found nine days ago. Radoslaw Ratajszczak, a zoo director, said the python's natural camouflage makes it hard to spot, and that cool weather now covering Poland will make the animal inactive and so even harder to find.
"It's a great swimmer. If it went into the Vistula and swam with the current it could be a 100km away," said Mr Ratajszczak.
Experts believe it may have been kept as an exotic pet but released into the wild when it became too large. (© Daily Telegraph, London)