A family from Dongguan, China, has recently made headlines after it became known that their 13-year-old son’s best friend is a 15-foot Burmese python. The predator even looks after the boy when his parents are away.
Most grownups would turn away and run for their lives at the sight of a 220lb python, but 13-year-old Azhe Liu can’t get enough of his slithering friend. Ever since he was just a few months old, the two have been sharing the same bed, and today they are simply inseparable. Six years before Azhe was born, his father, Chen Liu, found a snake egg, brought it home and hatched it out. When the boy came, the python already weighed 20 kilograms, but having a snake around the house didn’t seem to bother the family. “I’d always thought them the most beautiful creatures and I was interested to see what would happen when my son came along,” Chen says. “After a while we were certain the snake wouldn’t hurt him and we began to leave them together alone. They really are inseparable.” Azhe and his Burmese python started sharing the same bed, and when he was just 9 months old, he was left alone with it, as the parents left to work. They would play and cuddle all day long, and during the hot summer months, the snake’s cold body acted as a natural air-conditioner.
Chen Liu says his boy has never really had an interest in other toys, and always prefers to spend his free time in the company of his python. They have spent every day and night together, and the father swears the snake has never once hurt Azhe. “She’s very careful with me and never squeezes to hard,” the 13-year-old confirms. “If people understood animals more they’d be kinder to each other.” In 2012 Azhe had to go to school, and could only sleep at home on Saturdays, which made him really sad, but now he’s set a goal to become a zoologist when he grows up, so he can spend all his time with animal friends.