Eight-Foot Python Found Slinking Around on Farm

On March 18, a Welsh farmer in the small town of Troedyrhiw, Merthyr Tydfil was taken by surprise when he chanced upon a massive snake on his property.

The snake, which has since been handed over to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), was identified as a reticulated python, Wales Online and the South Wales Argus reported and measured eight feet in length. The RSPCA is now calling for the owner to come forward.

"Finding a snake this big out in the open must be a bit of a shock! This isn't the biggest a python can get. Females can grow up to 28 feet long, so this python is a little one compared to how long they can grow," RSPCA employee Dave Milborrow said.

Reticulated pythons have been known to prey on humans. In 2017, an Indonesian man who disappeared while harvesting his crops was found inside the belly of a 22-foot-long specimen. The next year, a woman from a neighboring province met a similar end. Footage of the gruesome necropsy was uploaded to YouTube, where it went viral.

Because reticulated pythons are not native to the United Kingdom, the snake is likely an escaped or abandoned pet, according to Milborrow. However, it could still pose a threat to the safety of the general public.

"While they're not venomous, they can still bite and constrict. These snakes require expert knowledge to keep them safely. We don't know if this snake escaped or was abandoned, so we're keen to find out more—and also get them home if they have escaped," he said.

Snakes, which are capable of squeezing through narrow cracks in cage walls and forcing off ill-fitting lids, are infamous among reptile enthusiasts for being escape artists. One way to keep track of their whereabouts, an RSPCA spokesperson told the Argus, is to fit them with a microchip.

reticulated python
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The snake was surrendered to the RSPCA's Merthyr location and is currently in the care of a specialist keeper. While the RSPCA hopes to track down the snake's owner, it is possible he or she does not want to be found. In the Florida Everglades, pet pythons are frequently abandoned with devastating ecological consequences, according to the United States Geological Survey.

If not claimed, the snake will remain with the keeper.

It was fortuitous that the farmer found the snake when he did, though he might not feel that way. Snakes are cold-blooded, meaning that they require external sources of heat, such as sunlight, in order to function normally. If they become too cold, they will not be able to eat, move, or fight off infection.