Exotic Snakes are Becoming Bigger Problem

Exotic snakes running lose in Florida are becoming a bigger problem. Hundreds are thought to be roaming the Everglades, and now police in Tallahassee have pinched a nine-foot python playing dead on the side of the road.

The nine-foot Burmese Python was picked up by police near the Tallahassee airport.

Handler Sean Belanger says even he was surprised at the snake’s size.

“Most of the calls I get, people always tell me, you know, ‘we’ve got a four foot, five foot snake’ and you get out to the site and sure enough, it’s like about a two foot snake, you know?

But police were even more surprised. They thought the snake was dead lying on the side of this busy highway until they walked up on it and it moved.

Unlike a soon-to-be released movie, the snake was headed away from the airport, not towards it.

Despite the movie “Snakes on the Plane,” experts say the snake was most likely released by an owner who no longer wanted it.

Henry Cabbage of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that’s a no-no.

“That is a violation that can land you in jail for a year and cost you a thousand dollar fine.”

The nine footer has a strong will to be free. After police initially captured the snake and put it in a bag, it escaped from the back seat of the patrol car.

Jon Johnson is from the St. Francis Wildlife Association.

“See, he’s kind of nervous. Like when they’re used to being handled, they don’t crawl around this much. They kind of are a little more easy going, you know? He’s wanting to get away.”

Whether the snake could have lived through the north Florida winter is questionable unless it found a way to hitch a ride south.

If you run across any pythons or other animals that don’t belong, you can call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922). You can find more information by visiting myfwc.com/law/alert.