Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Police trap massive python near Tarpon Springs apartment

TARPON SPRINGS — Loren Mell was walking his puppy Bonnie in the woods near his apartment complex Thursday when he decided to look for a nice fishing spot.

Instead, he found a 14½-foot python sunning itself.

"I thought, at first, I was just going crazy seeing things," said Mell, 25. "The thing was huge."

Mell dashed back to his unit at Riverside Apartments and grabbed a mop to "guard" the snake while his roommate called police.

Police arrived shortly after 2 p.m. One officer used a dog snare to trap the African rock python. Two others picked up the 150- to 200-pound snake, carried it from the woods and then secured it in a garbage can.

"It took three full-grown officers to wrestle with it, to get it through the woods, and they had to take a break halfway through," Mell said.

Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission removed the python. It was a "well-fed snake," said commission spokesman Gary Morse.

The python was definitely a pet at one time, he said. Whether it was properly registered is another question.

In Florida, African rock pythons are one of several python species considered a "reptile of concern." State law says they have to be registered and kept in a locked container. Owners must obtain a state permit.

The snake is being held by wildlife trapper Vernon Yates, who said he hasn't scanned the snake yet to see if has a registered owner.

If the owner isn't found, he said, he'll turn it over to someone who is licensed to keep pythons.

Pythons can be dangerous. In 2009, a 2-year-old girl was strangled in her crib by a pet Burmese python in Sumter County.

Tarpon Springs police Capt. Barb Templeton said it was disturbing to find such a snake near a complex with so many young children.

"There's kids out there playing all the time," Templeton said.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

Police trap massive python near Tarpon Springs apartment 01/27/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 28, 2011 11:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 24: A pilgrim reaches the Cruz de Ferro, an important milestone on the journey to Santiago

    Travel

    Day 24: Foncebadon to Molinaseca: 20.3 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-24 = 561 km (349 miles)

  2. Sprint is reportedly seeking a merger with Charter, the nation's second-biggest cable company

    Business

    Sprint, the nation's fourth-largest wireless network, is pursuing a merger with the cable company Charter Communications, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

  3. Steve Cishek latest bullpen upgrade for Rays, who now must translate that to wins

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The Rays made another addition to change the look of their bullpen Friday in acquiring veteran side-armer and former closer Steve Cishek from Seattle.

    Reliever Steve Cishek has a 3.15 ERA in 20 games after recovering from offseason hip surgery and a 1.86 ERA since a rocky second outing of the season.
  4. Ex-priest in Boston sex abuse scandal released from prison

    Nation

    BOSTON — A convicted pedophile priest at the center of Boston's Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal settled into an apartment in western Massachusetts on Friday, across the street from a children's dance studio.

    Paul Shanley, 86, has completed a 12-year sentence for the rape of a boy in the 1980s.
  5. Russia seizes 2 U.S. properties and orders embassy to cut staff

    World

    MOSCOW — Russia took its first steps Friday to retaliate against proposed U.S. sanctions for Moscow's suspected meddling in the 2016 election, seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties and ordering the U.S. Embassy to reduce staff by September.