Pumina

Giant Snake of Central Africa.

Variant names: Moma ("python"), Mpumina.

Physical description: Length, 38-46 feet. Dark above, white below. Large, triangular head, 30 inches wide.

Distribution: Kasai and western Katanga Regions, Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially Lake Upemba.

Significant sighting: In August 1959, a mechanic named Kindt took a photo of a giant python from a military helicopter in the Katanga Region some 60 miles northwest of Kamina, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It appeared to be 38-46 feet long.

Possible explanation: The African rock python (Python sebae) reaches 30-33 feet. Reports of larger specimens are rare and often based only on hearsay.

Sources: Mary H. Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, Congo Fran├žais, Corisco and Cameroons (New York: Macmillan, 1897), p. 546; Bernard Heuvelmans, Les derniers dragons d'Afrique (Paris: Plon, 1978), pp. 44-65.

444 PUKAU

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