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Alleged encounter with a giant snake in Katanga 1959:

This image has surfaced on a few websites over the years and is one of my all-time favourite monster snake photos and was taken by a passenger on a plane flown by a WWII pilot upon returning back to their Congo base from a mission.

The StoryEdit

Tales about enormous snakes are very frequent throughout the tropical regions of the world. 

Sensationalist news, sometimes anchored on dubious witnesses and unclear photos, appear frequently in South American and African newspapers. 

These assertions, however, aren’t viable in an encounter chronicled in 1959 by a helicopter pilot flying in the Congo region.

Col. Remy van Lierde (14 August 1915–8 June 1990) was a Belgian pilot who served during World War II in the Belgian and British Air Forces, shooting down six enemy aircraft and 44 V-1 flying bombs, and achieving the RAF rank of Squadron Leader. In 1958 he became one of the first Belgians to break the sound barrier while test flying a Hawker Hunter at Dunsfold Aerodrome in England. As Lt. Colonel Van Lierde he was made Deputy Chief of Staff to the Ministre of Defense in 1954. Van Lierde is considered a hero of World War II and a flying ace. 

In 1959, as full Colonel, he commanded the air base at Kamina in the Belgian Congo. While there, in the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while returning from a mission by helicopter, he encountered a Giant Congo Snake emerging from a hole as he flew over the forests, describing the snake as being close to 50 feet (about 15 meters)  in length, earning its place among the largest snakes ever reported.

Upon the incredible discovery, he then turned around and made several passes over the snake at a lower altitude in order to allow another person on board to photograph the creature.

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Van Lierde claims that as he flew lower for a closer inspection, the snake rose up approximately 10 feet, giving the impression it would have attacked the helicopter if it had been within striking range.

“I feel and I’m convinced if I had been in its range it would have struck at me”, Col. Lierde confessed.

He later described the giant snake as having a dark shade of green and brown with a white coloured belly and claimed the snake’s head was 3 feet wide, and that the jaws were of a triangular shape.

The Colonel has a wiki page that touches upon the account.

Van Lierde is considered a reliable eyewitness and his testimony is convincing. His depiction is very realistic and familiar to snake experts.

On an episode of Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World entitled “Dragons, Dinosaurs and Giant Snakes”, Van Lierde claimed, "It could have easily eaten up a man." Watch the clip.

Multiple experts and zoologists analyzed several of his pictures of the ‘Giant Congo Snake’ and have verified them as authentic. They verified the size of the serpent by comparison analysis to the ground features around the snake. 

According to Col. Lierde’s report, when he lowered the helicopter for a closer look the snake raised up 10 feet and looked as if it would strike at the helicopter if they flew any closer, but he was able to get a good view of the colouring which leads many people to believe it could have been an Anaconda.

More on AnacondasEdit

Anacondas which are probably most clostly related to the Titanaboa(giant prehistoric snake believed to be extinct but might be similiar to the snake in the photo) have been documented to raise up 6 to 7 feet to strike at people. 

The name anacondas refers to a whole genus of Boa constrictor snakes which kill their prey by squeezing them to death. Although no one is sure how big anacondas can get, most scientists believe that the largest are 25 feet long or even longer and there are many accounts of other giant snake encounters.

The Anaconda is considered the biggest snake in the world and can weigh 550 pounds or more, but will usually top out at a few hundred pounds. These snakes can measure more than 12 inches in diameter. The female typically outweighs the males. The Green Anaconda is dark green in color with black oval patches on its back. This drab pattern blends the snake in well with the wet, dense vegetations of its habitat. 

The Anaconda come equipped with a large head and a thick neck. Its eyes and nostrils are positioned on the top of the head, enabling the Anaconda to breathe and to see its prey while its stocky body lays submerged under water. The extremely muscular Anaconda is a constrictor and is not poisonous; however, it still has teeth and powerful jaws that it utilizes to clench onto its prey. It grabs its victim and pulls it underwater, drowning the prey.

Anaconda or aquatic boas can be categories as four different species. They are green anaconda, the yellow anaconda, the Dark-Spotted anaconda or Deschauense’s Anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei) , and the Bolivian Anaconda (Eunectes beniensis).

There are two possible origins for the word “anaconda”. It is perhaps an alteration of the Sinhalese word “henakanday,” meaning “thunder snake,” or alternatively, the Tamil word “anaikondran,” which means “elephant killer.”

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