Thursday, February 7, 2008

Snakes invade Florida!

Where is St. Patrick when you need him? * In East Manatte, a 13-foot-long, reticulated python, nicknamed the "Wal-Mart snake," was caught Monday in a culvert near Morgan Johnson Road off State Road 64. "Reticulated pythons grow to be the longest snake in the world. Up to 33 feet has been reported," local wildlife rehabilitator Justin Matthews said, adding this female, 13-foot-long snake appeared to be approximately 4 years old. "The snake at this age could be potentially dangerous if someone did not know what they were doing and if it got wrapped around their neck. What it basically adds up to is 30 pounds of squeezing pressure per square inch." * In St. Augustine, there's a new addition to an alligator farm but it's not an alligator... it's another kind of reptile, a 21-foot, 9-inch python. The snake was captured by villagers on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Farm officials say it may be the largest snake in captivity. In Everglades National Park, a snake wrangling tale sounds like a Three Stooges routine. A 6-foot python sought refuge by slithering up into the engine compartment of tourist Ron DeLong's Ford Explorer. DeLong attempted to grab the python with the curved end of his walking cane but failed as the snake slithered through. With the snake now wrapped around his engine, DeLong drove 15 miles to the park's main entrance to get help. A park ranger, two biologists and a firefighter opened the hood and tried to yank the snake out, but the python just gripped the engine more tightly. Tasering the snake proved to be an unsuccessful tactic as the python began to contract and excrete bodily fluids all over the four responders. Our four heroes then disassembled the undercarriage of the vehicle until they could reach the snake. They slapped some duct tape on its mouth and uncoiled the snake from the engine, then killed it. After putting the car back together again, they brought the snake to the lab for study.

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