India has racked up the most "deaths by selfie," researchers say, and one forest ranger almost joined that statistic. Gulf News and the Tribune report on a recent close call in the West Bengal city of Jalpaiguri, where ranger Sanjoy Dutta showed off to a crowd the 18-foot python he'd rescued, wrapping it around his neck and having admirers take pictures of him and the animal. Except the snake wasn't into the photo session, and became agitated and started to writhe, getting to the point where it actually started to strangle Dutta. A video shows Dutta repeatedly pushing the snake's body away from his throat, but at one point, as he walks away from the crowd, the snake gets even more serious about its efforts and starts to wrap around Dutta's torso, per the Independent.
Witnesses can be heard screaming, but bystanders quickly helped unravel the snake from around Dutta, who, oddly, doesn't seem too fazed by the incident. Others who viewed the video were disturbed, however, both by the fact that Dutta could've been injured or killed, as well as by the treatment of the snake. "30 seconds of fame nearly cost the ranger's life. The animal was only reacting instinctively because it felt threatened," one Twitter user commented. Another wrote: "What a stupid show off. His job is to safeguard wild animals including snakes." The Independent notes attacks on humans by reticulated pythons, which usually feast on small mammals, aren't common. (A python swallowed a woman whole in Indonesia.)