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13-FOOT PYTHON'S RAMBLE CUT SHORT

A 13-foot-long reticulated python, nicknamed the "Wal-Mart snake," was caught Monday in a culvert near Morgan Johnson Road off State Road 64 in East Manatee.

In the past two weeks, local wildlife rehabilitator Justin Matthews had received several calls from people claiming to have seen a large python in the suburban area.

After a volunteer from Matthews Wildlife Rescue located the snake coiled up in the culvert a few miles from Wal-Mart on State Road 64, Matthews captured the snake late Monday afternoon.

"It was someone's pet, so somebody either got sick of this animal or it got away from them," Matthews said. "Reticulated pythons grow to be the longest snake in the world. Up to 33 feet has been reported," he said, adding that this female, 13-foot snake appeared to be about 4 years old.

Although reticulated pythons are not venomous, their bite can be painful, he said. "This snake here has a mouthful of teeth, about 88 of them, that are a half-an-inch long," he said. "At 13 feet long, it is totally capable of swallowing people, dogs and cats."

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