A 10-foot Burmese python was found rolled up under the hood of a car that the owner had taken to a garage in Florida.
Gerard Doffay, who was in the building next door and helped tear the creature apart, said it was about seven centimeters in circumference and that it took four people to get it into a bag. “It was a big snake,” he told the WSVN.
The garage workers contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) after opening the hood of the Ford Mustang and seeing the snake on the car’s engine. The FWC posted a picture of the snake on their Facebook page and reported that the officers quickly arrived on the scene and managed to capture and remove the ten-foot creature.
The person who found the snake had opened the hood to check the engine light. Then they ran to Doffay to get help. “I thought, ‘OK, I’ll go and help them,” Doffay told the WSVN. “I’ll pull them out from under the hood of their car. I didn’t expect this python under the hood of their car.”
Doffay described the struggle to catch the snake and said one of the officers had to grab it by the back of its head. “He started to pull it towards him and I saw an opportunity to help him and get it out from under the swinging pole, so we grabbed it out. At that point she was around his hands. I had to help him pull his hands out of the inside of the coils, and we tried to put them in his pocket three or four times. Eventually we needed four people.”
It is believed that the snake crawled into the car after being left outside the auto repair shop overnight. Doffay said he believes Burmese pythons are becoming more common in the area and he would not be surprised if the number of disappeared domestic cats and dogs increased. “They’re obviously coming closer,” he said about the snakes.
Burmese pythons are an invasive species in Florida. They generally occur in the southern parts of the state, with the Everglades being a key ecosystem for them. They are believed to have been introduced to the region in the 1990s after being – at least partially – dispersed by Hurricane Andrew, which raged in 1992. During the storm, a breeding facility with thousands of Burmese pythons was destroyed, allowing these snakes to escape.
After invading the region, the pythons quickly established a strong presence due to the suitable habitat and abundance of prey. Since their arrival, the native populations of some animals have declined sharply, affecting the ecosystems in their now 1,000 square miles of distribution.
In 2017, an eradication program was introduced to control the problematic species, although the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the likelihood of their complete elimination as low.
The FWC removed the Python in the car, whereupon it would have been euthanized according to the organization’s recommendations. “This is a success for native wildlife, as pythons hunt native birds, mammals and reptiles,” the FWC said in its Facebook post. “Thanks to the citizen who told us about the python. We rely on public reports to enable us to react quickly and remove these species”.