Pythons are non-native to the United States, but they do occur in certain parts of Florida and the Everglades where they are an invasive species.
High school teacher James Geist didn’t expect to see one outside of a cage as far north as New Jersey. Geist, 46, a social studies teacher in New York City, was reading on his New Jersey home’s backyard deck when he thought he saw a branch move on Monday, July 23. It didn’t take long for him to realize that it was a snake.
Without a moment’s hesitation, he called police who told him to keep his distance. “I’m not a fan of snakes so I wasn’t going to go near the thing,” Geist told The Record in New Jersey.
Police and two snake handlers arrived. They identified the snake as a female albino python. It was 15-feet long and estimated to be worth $8,000. It didn’t move much in half an hour’s time, only about 10 feet, and it was calm and docile. Experts believed it had just recently eaten. It was probably somebody’s pet because it was used to human presence.
Four days later on Friday morning, Geist was in his kitchen looking out the window when he spotted another python. This one was “only” 10-feet long. Police came again with animal control who trapped the snake until the snake handler arrived to assist them. He told Geist this snake was worth a few thousand dollars.
Officials speculate that the snakes were released into the wild after their owner moved. Geist does not know what happened with the snakes after they were detained, although he is glad they are gone since he has a fear of snakes. Geist told The Record, “I would rather face a black bear than a python.”
As a joke, he put a sign up outside of his house that reads “Geist’s Reptile Farm.”
“I’ll be pretty happy when the winter comes because it will kill any more pythons that are out there,” Geist said. “I just hope there’s no cobras.”