ENGLEWOOD — It’s not every day you see a Burmese python snaking its way out of a woody lot.
At least not for Don Darby, a seasonal Rotonda resident, who turned off Winchester Boulevard South onto Cougar Way Monday morning and spotted a 9-foot Burmese python slithering in the grass toward the roadway.
“Oh my God, it’s a python coming out of the woods,” Darby recalled as his first reaction after spotting the python emerging from a lot. He immediately recognized the snake as a Burmese python and pulled over.
No one will know why the python wanted to cross the street. Darby kept the large exotic constrictor from roaming off by “nudging its tail.”
“It wasn’t aggressive,” Darby said.
He respects wildlife and encourages his neighbors to respect wildlife, too.
Darby flagged down a patrolling Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputy. The Charlotte Sheriff’s Office, in turn, called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Wildlife officers and investigators arrived on the scene and captured the snake.
All the activity caught the attention of other passing motorists, some of whom stopped to take their own photos of the errant python and his captors. Several of those photos were posted on the The Daily Sun’s Facebook once the story hit social media.
“If only if you could have seen their reactions,” Darby said.
Wildlife biologists will determine whether the python was released by a pet owner or whether it belongs to the invasive python population that established itself in the Everglades and South Florida, including Collier County.
Biological data will be collected, including what native wildlife it may have eaten and whether or not it was a female with eggs. Wildlife officers stress how it particularly important to remove reproductive, active females, especially those with fertilized eggs, from the wild.
The necropsy on the snake wasn’t completed Tuesday, Brown said.
Burmese pythons first captured headlines as their populations grew and threatened native wildlife — including alligators — in the eastern portions of the Everglades in Miami-Dade County.
When Darby told his sons in Maryland about his encounter with the python, they found their father’s experience “unbelievable.”
To learn more about pythons and other wildlife in Florida, visit myfwc.com.