Python Adopts Sailors


March 24, 1971

Like many people, Sam likes chicken. And when he gets hungry, about once every two weeks, it’s no bother preparing a meal for him because Sam doesn’t like his chicken plucked. He prefers his dinner alive and whole, with feathers, feet and all.

Sam is not a freak. He is just an ordinary 16 foot, 100 pound rock python.

The snake is a pet of the airfield crash/rescue crew at Binh Thuy Navy base. Sam, measuring a mere 4 feet in length when he was purchased at a nearby market, found a home with the crash crew 3 years ago.

Airman Steve Ledger of Terryville, Connecticut, is one of Sam’s caretakers who help insure that the python gets his meals and exercise. “We take Sam out of his cage for exercise in the late afternoon or evening when it’s cooler for him. But he’s awfully silent and swift and before we know it he’ll slither away. Then we have to chase him and bring him back,” Ledger said.

Sam satisfies his appetite about twice monthly with a plump full grown chicken or duck. The fowl meals are purchased from a Vietnamese marketplace near the base. “Sam won’t eat anything that he didn’t kill so we keep a live bird in his cage all the time. He eats it when he gets hungry,” said Ledger. ” It cost’s about 750 Piastres for a big chicken.

Once, the crash crew members placed 2 ducks in Sam’s cage for him to eat. Sam chomped down the first duck. Witnessing this sight, the second duck screeched and fell over dead. presumably of a heart attack.

Preturbed over the incident, Steve Ledger said, “Since Sam won’t eat anything he doesn’t catch and kill, seeing that second duck keel over was like watching three dollars go up in smoke for us.”