A family in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire, UK, got the shock of their lives when an 18-ft Burmese python slithered into their bedroom via an open window. "It's a very dangerous snake, and it's massive. I felt sick when my friend told me it was trying to get into someone's house," said a neighbor. Here's what happened, according to eyewitnesses.
According to neighbor Jenny Warwick, 62, the python broke into the house across the road at around 5.30 am on Tuesday, August 23. Warwick was alerted to the slippery intruder when her dog Rodney began to bark at the snake, and she then noticed it slithering across a roof before trying to get inside the house via an upstairs window. Warwick, who has lived on the street for 36 years, saw the snake being pushed out of the window by the residents, who were wielding a broom handle.
Sneak Fell on to the Hood of a Car
"I saw something on the roof and thought it must be a plastic tube, but then its head started moving," Warwick says. "I told my husband, Steven, but he said, 'Don't be silly.' We realized that it was definitely a snake, and it was moving all over the roof, trying to find a way to get down. It's not what you want to see first thing in the morning… my husband hates snakes, and he couldn't get to work fast enough." The snake was eventually pushed out of the window and fell 20ft onto the hood of a car with "an almighty thud." Dog walkers were horrified when the giant snake suddenly landed on the street next to them and got out of the way as quickly as possible.
Is This Your Snake?
Residents on the street were angry at the thought of an irresponsible owner letting their pet escape, and a local woman known for keeping snakes found herself woken up by irate neighbors "banging on my door talking about a snake in the road." The python, in fact, belonged to someone else, but she kindly allowed the snake to be held in her conservatory until the owner—a local man—came to collect the creature. "It's a very dangerous snake, and it's massive," the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. "I felt sick when my friend told me it was trying to get into someone's house. There could have been a baby in there. I used to keep snakes, and I know that when they're hungry, they can turn nasty. I was bitten by my python a number of times. It was a big 18ft snake, and it must have been six stone at least."
Are Burmese Pythons Dangerous?
Generally speaking, pythons are not aggressive towards humans but will defend themselves if provoked. "The Burmese python is largely unmatched in the magnitude of its physiological response to ingestion of prey," U.S. Geological Survey research ecologists Amy Yackel Adams and Andrea Currylow told Newsweek. "Within 48 hours of ingestion, the python undergoes a 40-fold increase in organ growth to digest the intact prey item. After which, the organs—for example, the small intestine, heart and kidney—associated with digesting a meal down-regulate in size."
Snakes In the Everglades
Burmese pythons are now established in the Florida Everglades, where they are decimating local species such as bobcats, raccoons, and deer. As a result, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission started the Florida Python Challenge in 2013 to encourage hunters to find and kill the snakes. "I love snakes. I hate that we have to do this, but they're invasive and changing the entire ecosystem," professional python hunter Amy Siewe told CNN. "The challenge is designed to remove as many pythons from the area as possible," says Michael Kirkland, a biologist with the South Florida Water Management District. "Human detection and removal are the most efficient and effective tools in the toolbox right now."