A student zookeeper at a zoo in Venezuela has been sacked after he was discovered trying to hide inside a Burmese Python.
Staff at the zoo, in Caracas, were alerted when they heard the man, Pedro Arteta, giggling. They pounced, and beat the snake senseless with brushes, and forced the man to get back to work.
When the zoo management found out, however, they felt they had no choice, and sacked Senor Arteta on the spot.
The snake had been given to the zoo by the Burmese government as a present two months ago, and was regularly used as a hiding place by young children who visited the zoo. In the wilds, Burmese Pythons routinely grow to an enormous length of 15 metres, so there is plenty of room to hide inside.
The man who gave Arteta his 'marching orders', Director General of the Parque del Este zoo, Xavier Fernandez, said:
"He was a lazy boy. Always trying to get out of doing work. Last week, we caught him asleep in the tiger enclosure, and only two months ago, three assistants had to help extricate him from an elephant's backside! Well, he's history now!"