A “huge, thick and scary” Burmese python measuring 3.5 meters (approximately 11 feet) was discovered this week behind a toilet in a public bathroom along the Tiberias promenade in northern Israel.
It was probably a household pet that had escaped or been forgotten when the owner visited the area, the local reptile expert who captured it speculated, remarking that keeping this particularly species at home is not a good idea.
Itay Meyers, the director of the Center for Reptiles in Katzrin, told the Israel Hayom Hebrew daily that while he is often called upon to deal with vipers and other poisonous snakes, this was an unusual experience for him. Despite the intimidating size of the python, Meyers said capturing it was easier than is usually the case with poisonous snakes.
One Tiberias resident said that when a man came into her brother’s place of business along the promenade asking for a garbage can to help capture a snake, she followed him back out to see what was happening. She saw two men carrying the giant snake, and putting it in a large sack. She described the snake as “huge, thick and scary.”
According to Meyers, this snake is approximately 3 years old and was very calm. He said that it is likely that the snake was a pet that either escaped from his owner’s home or was accidentally forgotten by the owner while visiting the promenade. While Meyers said that it is possible to raise snakes as house pets, it is generally not recommended with Burmese pythons.
The Burmese python, native to the rain forests of southeast Asia, is one of the largest snakes in the world, and the female of the species can grow as large as seven meters long (23 feet) and weigh as much as 100 kilograms (220 lbs.). Its usual diet consists of birds and small mammals, but there have been cases reported of people, particularly infants, also being eaten by pythons.
Freed from the Tiberias restroom, the snake is currently being held and cared for at the Katzrin Center for Reptiles.