Eight-foot python found in Irmo

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

IRMO, SC (WIS) - Snakes are pretty common around these parts -- garden snakes, rat snakes and even rattlers. But the snake that ended up in a drainage ditch off Lake Murray Boulevard was definitely not from around here.

If you work at a car wash, you expect big business after a big snowfall. "We stay pretty steady, try to keep everybody as clean as we can," said Shaun Hutchins.

But the guys at Frank's in Irmo aren't talking about the salt or the sand. Instead, they're a little distracted by a dead eight-foot python.

"Needless to say I was very surprised to see that, because they shouldn't be here," said General Manager Shaun Hutchins, who found it recently while making a check of the property.

At first, he thought it was just a skin. "I grabbed my garden rake, pulled it out and it was an eight-foot python."

"That snake right there could be a four- to five-year-old python," said Steve Bennett, the Department of Natural Resource's resident snake expert.

Bennett says this snake was likely the victim of the recent freeze. Even at eight feet, Bennett says the python would pose little risk unless you happen to be a small dog or woodland creature. "Small animals over here, cats and dogs would definitely be on the menu if they got close to 'em," said Bennett.
Bennett says this one could've been someone's pet. He says if it didn't escape, it probably outgrew the cage or the budget. "They have an amazing propensity to grow, and so someone buys them and goes 'oh little Jimmy wanted this as a pet! We didn't realize it was gonna get that big!'" said Bennett. "It's a real good chance someone saw this ditch and said 'hey, let's let it go.'"
The DNR says you should remember this story when selecting a pet. Finding a place that will take an exotic -- especially one of this size -- is very difficult. Keep that in mind when you head to your reptile dealer, lest you become the owner of a future snake in a drain.

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