Officers from the (NYDEC) responded to an unusual call earlier this month. According to a press release, two officers received a report of an exceptionally large snake on the side of the road in the town of Medford, which is on Long Island, on February 14. After reporting to the scene, they found…a giant python. Really.
“Nothing to see here,” wrote the NYDEC in a Facebook post. “Just your average, run-of-the-mill 14-foot reticulated python on the side of the road.”
The officers say that the snake was curled up in a ball when they first approached it. Upon further inspection, they realized the snake was deceased. The agency measured the snake at 14 feet before “appropriately disposing of it.” The snake had mostly been kept as an exotic pet before being abandoned.
“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,” explained the NYDEC. “An investigation into the owner of the snake is ongoing.”
What is a Reticulated Python?
According to Zoo Atlanta, the reticulated python is considered the longest species of snake on the planet. Native to southern Asia, members of the species are known to regularly grow to lengths in excess of 16 feet. They’re constrictors and feed on a wide variety of prey including birds and mammals, including deer and wild boar.
Reticulated pythons are distinct from Burmese pythons, which have established invasive populations throughout southern Florida. Unlike many species of snakes native to the U.S., pythons are not able to tolerate cold or freezing temperatures, which is why they could not establish wild populations in northern areas such as New York.