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Big Snake

The Hunt for the World's Longest Python

About to be married, Robert Twigger decides on his last great adventure as a bachelor. Surfing the net, he discovers the Roosevelt Prize - worth $50,000 - for the capture of a live 30 foot python. Armed only with a tin of High Toast Snuff (deadly if sniffed by a snake), Twigger sets off into the remote jungles of Indonesia in search of his prey.
Along the way, he investigates the legendarily beautiful women of Sulawesi, treads in Nabokov's footsteps, looks for giant snakes beneath the sewers of Kuala Lumpur, and spends time with a variety of snake catchers and cults. After being caught up in anti-Chinese riots and surviving on greasy civet cat in the jungle, Twigger finally comes face to face with the big one; but the final capture is not quite what he had in mind.

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Big Snake Prize

The Roosevelt prize is still on offer from the wildlife conservation society of New York, based at the Bronx Zoo. It stands at $50,000 for any snake caught in excess of 30feet. It has never been claimed, though we came close (while making a film about it) with one 26 1/2 feet long, which was, until our former headhunter companions decided to eat it, the longest snake in the world then in captivity. Big Snake was filmed for channel 4 and national geographic. We followed the same itinerary as the book and the film still gets shown from time to time, most recently on More4. You might even find it on dvd somewhere out there.