Python vs. hookers

A South African man successfully uses a pet snake to clean up his neighborhood.

By Jack Boulware

Published October 26, 2000 7:37PM (EDT)

Since 1996, Antonie Rossouw and his family have lived on Grobler Street in the South African resort town of Roodepoort. But he got tired of the neighborhood's crime and, in particular, its thriving prostitute community.

In January Rossouw launched a neighborhood watch program, which prompted 58 arrests and closed down the brothel that operated a block from his house. Roodepoort's hookers were not pleased with his actions, and threatened him and his family. Rossouw was stopped and told he would be killed. The Rossouw family car was stolen, and their dog was poisoned.

His back to the wall, Rossouw scratched his head and thought up another solution to chase off the prostitutes outside his front door: He bought himself a snake.

The snake's name is Monty, and she's a 2-month-old bronze and black Burmese python. Rossouw says he takes his new hooker deterrent everywhere he goes. If he hops in the yellow Mini to pick up some videos, the snake accompanies him. When the Rossouw family takes their afternoon walk, Monty slithers alongside them on the pavement. And the 3.3-foot-long reptile has taken a strong liking to their swimming pool.

Rossouw told a reporter that after he heard a fight outside his house recently, he walked outside, wearing the snake coiled around his neck.

"They scattered before I could ask what was going on," Rossouw said proudly. "I don't threaten anyone with the snake -- I just carry her around."

The last thing a hooker needs is for a snakephobic customer to flee in terror in the middle of a transaction. Indeed, Rossouw is happy to report, prostitutes have stopped turning tricks outside his house, and nobody dares to ring his doorbell uninvited.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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