The two-year-old daughter of a snake collector has been pictured riding a giant Burmese python.

Jamal Amwasi of Ramallah, a 35-year-old Palestinian civil servant, is the owner of more than a dozen snakes, including several large pythons, all of which live in a shed a few metres from his home in the occupied West Bank.

“These snakes have become part of the family. Every morning and every night I check up on them and feed them,” he said.

As a boy, Mr Amwasi would hunt birds and gazelles in the surrounding hills, a pastime that eventually led him to snakes.

In addition to collecting local snakes, he has imported the Burmese pythons from a trader in Israel. He knows all the different species by their Hebrew names.

Some 40 species of snake inhabit Israel and the West Bank and around 10 of them are venomous, including the Sahara horned viper, the Palestinian viper, the saw-scaled viper and the long, black burrowing asp.

Mr Amwasi used to own around 20 venomous snakes but got rid of them for fear that they might bite one of his children or a neighbour. He says he turned them loose in a remote area far from the city.

(news source