MARCO ISLAND, Florida – A python looking for a ride snuck aboard a sailboat in the Florida Keys and ended up staying until the boat completed its nearly 100-mile journey, police said .
The crew found the 7-foot (2.1-meter) snake in the boat’s shower after docking at Marco Island on the southwest coast of Florida’s Gulf on Friday after the trip from Indian Key, a distance of approximately 95 miles (155 kilometers) around the southern tip of the peninsula.
Police responded quickly and transferred the invasive snake after its ride to a local wildlife manager, according to a police press release.
Police posted several photos of an officer in uniform smiling wildly on the boat with the python wrapped several times around his arm.
In May, a python “over 8 feet long” was captured on a boat in Coral Gables, reported the Miami Herald.
Pythons that are said to have descended from pets released from captivity in recent decades are now ravage native species in parts of South Florida and invading the Everglades. Pythons, which can grow up to 6.1 meters (20 feet) and 90 kilograms (200 pounds), devour native populations of mammals and birds.
The US Geological Survey says there is no evidence of pythons swimming from the Everglades to the Keys, but they haven’t totally ruled it out.
“Because pythons regularly escape or are released from captivity, it can be difficult to determine if a snake encountered in the Keys arrived there while swimming from the mainland or was a former captive pet on the island. “the agency said previously.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.