People in Sandestin, Florida reported what they thought to be a heap of debris on the road blocking traffic. It turns out they were wrong, as it was a huge ball python, according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident occurred early Monday, September 12 at an intersection in the town about 60 miles east of Pensacola.
“This … python was called in as a highway obstruction early this morning,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Yes. A highway obstruction. … How about a breathing obstruction?”
A caller reported the snake was “entering the highway.” However, by the time deputies arrives, the snake had slithered to the roadside.
Authorities don’t know where the snake came from. However, they speculate the creature is an escaped pet. Ball pythons, an invasive species, have cut into environments in the Everglades at the bottom of the peninsula. However, up on the Panhandle, you rarely spot pythons.
A photo shared by the sheriff’s office shows the snake was also an albino python. This explains why the snake was easily spotted by motorists despite being nighttime. At first, the snake was mistaken for a Burmese python.
Deputies nabbed the snake. Then, they consulted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on what to do next. The department then turned over the python to a snake rehab facility in Destin, about 11 miles west.
People flooded the Facebook post with their thoughts. One local resident wrote: “Oh dear, I live near there. That is a big nope for me!”
They added, “Thank you Thank you Thank you Walton County Sheriff’s office!”
Florida Python Blocks Intersection in Sandestin
“Good riddance. No offense. Can snakes even take offense?” the sheriff’s office wrote.
News of a python roaming Walton County quickly sparked social media concerns that the invasion from down south might be heading up to northwest Florida. However, many agreed that winters up in the Panhandle were far too cold for these creatures to last.
“Everglades started with pets and Hurricane Andrew,” Melonie Layman wrote on Facebook. “They could definitely grow into a problem. I have the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.”
“Just like SoFla now. Burmese pythons everywhere,” Todd Brackin said. “I would have died if I saw this on the road,” Julie Lewis posted.
However, members of the public are encouraged to report sightings of a nonnative snake. You can report any sightings to the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline, 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4861), online at IVEGOT1.org or by using the free IveGot1 smartphone app.
Authorities request people submit a photo and exact location. It helps biologists properly identify the species and respond as efficiently as possible.
If residents have a nonnative pet they can no longer keep, the Exotic Pet Amnesty Program helps connect them with qualified adopters. More information can be found here: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/amnesty-program/.