One by one, the guard dogs disappeared without trace. The locals first thought they must have wandered off, even though they were well cared for.
But after three months 11 dogs had vanished from the Malaysian village of Kampung Pogoh and villagers began to suspect something in the jungle was making a meal of them. Their suspicions were confirmed when a huge python was discovered half a mile from the village.
Ali Yusof, 35, who lost the 11 dogs - and suspects several more had also been eaten by the 25ft reptile - found it coiled up at the edge of a swamp near his mango orchard.
Terrified of getting too close in case he also ended up as its lunch, he also found drag marks that he said confirmed the snake had slithered along with a dog in its mouth.
"I did not need to be a clever policeman to read all the signs,' he said yesterday as he joined other villagers to show off the 11stone snake. I had dogs on patrol around the orchard to stop people stealing my fruit, but one by one they disappeared. What puzzled me was that there were no remains. There was no sign of a struggle, no blood, - nothing. So when I saw that big, big snake, I knew what had happened. It is so big it could swallow a dog in one piece."
The python was captured by throwing a blanket over its head, a recognised method of calming and confusing many snakes. It was later taken away by wildlife officials who said it would probably be released again into the wild - a long way from any village.
There are many types of python, ranging from 3ft to 30ft long. They kill their prey by constriction and have a powerful bite. The reticulated python found in South-East Asia is one of the longest and on rare occasions has been known to attack humans.