A massive snake slithering down the street isn’t a sight you’d expect to see in the middle of a town. For the Sandwell Police Department in West Midlands, United Kingdom., that’s exactly what they encountered in the wee hours of the morning on September 5, 2023. Multiple frantic calls rang in requesting responders to come out to capture the 12-foot-long python.
Normally handled by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), who were off duty at the time, the 1:30 a.m. calls left the job of capturing the creature to the police. Three officers wrangled the massive snake and were able to safely secure it in their van. Then they transferred it to a local veterinary emergency care center for overnight keeping.
Many news outlets refer to this snake as a yellow Burmese python, but they are incorrect. The massive snake in the photo at the end of this article is actually a reticulated python. Let’s learn more about these two beautiful and massive snake species before seeing the original post below!
Where Did the Massive Snake Come From?
At the time of writing, no one knows where the snake came from or who it might belong to. Some speculate that it escaped its enclosure and wandered out into the street. Reticulated pythons are generally nocturnal (or active at night). It is likely the snake was just out looking for a meal.
What’s the Difference Between Burmese and Reticulated Pythons?
By and large, the most significant difference between these two massive snake species is their weight. Burmese pythons tend to be much heavier than reticulated pythons, while reticulated pythons grow longer. Actually, reticulated pythons are the longest-known snakes in the world, contrary to the many incorrect news reports. Both species are native to South and Southeast Asia. Burmese pythons are on the IUCN’s Red List as vulnerable, while reticulated pythons remain of the least concern. Many people love and own both species as pets. There are even different color morphs (the term given to reptiles who appear differently colored than their wild counterparts) of both species. In fact, most captive-bred snake species now have a variety of color morphs among them.
These massive snakes are said to grow up to 20 feet long, though individuals over 16 feet are rare. They weigh anywhere from about 60 to 215 pounds. The largest ever recorded Burmese python, named Baby, weighed in at a whopping 403 pounds at the time of her passing in 1999. She measured 18 feet and 10 inches long. These snakes are now an invasive species in Florida due to careless owners releasing them. They’ve brought with them parasitic diseases, as well, which threaten the natural local wildlife.
The largest recorded reticulated python, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, measured an impressive 25 feet and 2 inches long. Her name was Medusa, and she earned her world record in 2011. She weighed over 400 pounds! The typical size for these massive snakes is about 13–16 feet. Yet another invasive species in Florida, reticulated pythons (and other all-invasive reptiles), do not receive protection under the anti-cruelty laws, and homeowners may kill them without repercussions. This is unfortunate for the snakes, but they are overtaking and driving out natural species.
Check Out the Massive Snake in the Original Post Below!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Creatas/Creatas via Getty Images
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