A photograph purporting to show a 55ft snake found in a forest in China has become an internet sensation.
It was originally posted in a thread on the website of the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper in China.
The thread claimed the snake was one of two enormous reticulated pythons found by workers clearing forest for a new road outside Guping city, Jiangxi province.
They apparently woke up the sleeping snakes during attempts to bulldoze a huge mound of earth.
"On the third dig, the operator found there was blood amongst the soil, and with a further dig, a dying snake appeared," said the post.
"At the same time, another gold coloured giant snake appeared with its mouth wide open. The driver was paralysed with fear, while the other workers ran for their lives.
"By the time the workers came back, the wounded snake had died, while the other one had disappeared. The bulldozer operator was so sick that he couldn't even stand up."
The post claimed that the digger driver was so traumatised that he suffered a heart attack on his way to hospital and later died.
The dead snake was 55ft (16.7m) long, weighed 300kg and was estimated to be 140 years old, according to the post.
However, local government officials in Guiping say the story and photograph are almost certainly a hoax as reticulated pythons are not native to the area.Original story can be found here.