A strange mound spotted alongside a road on Long Island proved to be a 14-foot invasive snake, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
The reticulated python was discovered Feb. 14 near Medford, but details of the discovery were not released until March 1.
“Officers arrived and observed the reptile curled up in a ball. A closer look revealed it to be deceased,” the department reported.
“The (officers) removed the snake from the roadway to appropriately dispose of it. … An investigation into the owner of the snake is ongoing.”
A photo shared on social media shows the snake was nearly as long as the officers’ patrol truck.
It is suspected the snake was an escaped pet. However, commenters on social media suggest it may have “hitched a ride on some type of transport vehicle/boat.”
“It is illegal to keep these types of snakes as pets in New York and they may only be possessed by holders of a Dangerous Animal License,” the state reported.
Pythons are sensitive to temperatures below 50 degrees, which means the snake would not have survived long during a New York winter.
Reticulated pythons average 13 to 16 feet in the wild, but some as big as 20 feet and 300 pounds have been found.
The species is native to South and Southeast Asia, but has become more widespread due to the pet trade.
Florida’s Everglades has become a stronghold for the snakes, which are creating environmental havoc by feeding on native wildlife. Pythons can be captured and “humanely killed year round” in Florida, and no permit or hunting license is required.
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