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Siesta Key homeowner catches 12-foot python on his dock

Trapper says the snake is non-venomous
Posted at 10:31 PM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 05:18:45-05

SIESTA KEY, Fla. — A trapper caught a 12-foot reticulated python on Siesta Key.

Joe Volpe, a homeowner on Siesta Key, says his neighbor called him on Tuesday to warn him about a 12-foot snake crawling on his dock by the canal.

"I watched him for about 15 minutes and no real movement. I got the pole from the pool and pulled him out of the water and laid him out here on the stones," said Joe Volpe, the homeowner.

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He placed the snake in a trash can and called a wildlife trapper.

Justin Matthews with Matthews Wildlife Rescue in Bradenton responded to the call and rescued the reticulated python.

Reticulated pythons are similar in size and shape to Burmese pythons, but have a different scale pattern and coloration, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Matthews says the python is non-venomous but can be dangerous to small dogs and animals.

"A python like this could eat an incredibly large animal like a full-grown raccoon, no problem, a dog, medium size dog, no problem," said Justin Matthews, trapper. 

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Volpe says the snake appeared stunned by the cold water.

"The sun was hitting him and he started to warm up and show some movement," said Volpe.

Matthews says the python was likely someone's pet and was released. He says the snake appears to be underweight for its length.

"He's not in great condition. He has an injury to his head and he hasn't been eating well because he's thin for a 12-foot python," said Matthews.

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Matthews plans to take the snake to the Bayshore Animal Hospital in Bradenton on Wednesday morning.

He says he is curious to see if the snake has a microchip from a previous owner.