September 22, 2009

Dead python found floating in Tampa area

A 10-foot-long reticulated python was found floating dead Tuesday in a drainage pond in a Florida nature preserve, officials said.

John Rivard of Clearwater discovered the snake in the Largo Central Park Nature Preserve during an early morning walk, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported.

I was a little surprised, he said. It was not something I expected to see out there.

Rivard used a stick to fish the snake out of the pond, used for treatment of storm water, and got some photos. Workers from the Largo Recreation Parks and Arts Department measured it.

Mike DePappa, the assistant parks superintendent, said it is the first python to turn up in a Tampa-area park in the four years he has been working in the area. He said the snake was almost certainly a released or escaped pet.

Reticulated pythons, like Burmese pythons, come from Southeast Asia. The reticulated pythons grow longer, up to 28 feet, although they are slender and less heavy.

Burmese pythons are known to be breeding in the Everglades, and scientists are now concerned about African rock pythons.

DePappa described the snake as stinky and said the carcass was burned. He said there were no signs of injury.