A woman in a flea market in Homestead, Florida got quite the shock after a live eight-foot Burmese python slithered out of a stack of used clothes she was browsing.
According to the Miami Herald, the Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue snake unit arrived at the market on Sunday to capture the large snake, which they believe was looking for a place to digest its latest meal. Burmese pythons prefer warm, dark places to rest, and a heap of old jeans and shirts seemed to be the perfect spot.
“They are nocturnal creatures and come out at night looking for food and then look for a place to rest during the day,” said Lt. Scott Mullen with Miami-Dade’s Venom One Unit.
The snake was still nestled in the stack of clothes when Mullen arrived, but it was no trouble for the seasoned snake catchers to remove the python safely. Although Burmese pythons are powerful animals with a bite to match, they are not usually considered very dangerous to humans.
Nonetheless, Florida biologists regard the invasive Burmese python as one of the biggest threats to native wildlife in the state. The snakes have already become established in Everglades National Park, despite efforts to stem their expansion, and are now a relatively common sight elsewhere. Officials say that due to rainy weather and other factors, it is not uncommon to see more pythons in residential areas. Last Thursday, a Palm Beach County man even found a python along Highland Beach. Burmese pythons are not generally known to congregate near South Florida beaches.
— MDFR (@MiamiDadeFire) September 27, 2015
“Because of its large size, adult Burmese pythons have few predators, with alligators and humans being the exceptions,” stated the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
In 2013, state wildlife officials organized a python hunt in the Everglades to promote awareness of the invasive species. The FWC is planning to bring back the hunt in 2016 with more training courses. Pythons are among the world’s largest snakes, but their natural camouflage makes them hard to find and even harder to catch. At least, when they are not trying to take a nap in a bundle of jeans.
Mullen said the snake from this incident weighed about 40 pounds and was later turned over to the FWC.
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