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Pythons are showing up in Greenfield, too

A snakefound Oct. 1 in Highland Park and identified as a ball python.
----photo credit; reader Thomas Thompson ----

A snakefound Oct. 1 in Highland Park and identified as a ball python. ----photo credit; reader Thomas Thompson ---- Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — Highland Park has — or had — some new residents, with two out-of-place pythons joining the two discovered in Montague in recent times.

Reader Thomas Thompson submitted a photo Friday of a ball python he and others came across Oct. 1 in the wooded park off Highland Avenue.

Thompson wrote he was walking his dog in the park when he heard dogs barking on another trail and went to investigate.

“It wasn’t till I had made the turn onto another trail to see they were barking because the owners had tied them up. (There were) ladies were standing over the snake as soon as they saw me and they ran over to tell me to be careful of the snake,” Thompson wrote.

After calls to the town animal control officer and police department, the ACO arrived, identified the snake as a ball python, got it to wrap around a stick and took it away, Thompson wrote.

Sgt. Mark Williams confirmed two snakes were found in the park and reported to police in the space of a week, the first Oct. 1 and the second Saturday, but had no further details.

In Montague, two ball pythons were found in the area of the bike path near Greenfield Road Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 and both are now in the care of a Greenfield couple.

Those snakes were estimated at nearly 5 feet and 3 feet long, respectively.

Ball pythons are harmless to humans and pets, according to Richard Revis, co-owner of Black Jungle Terrarium Supply, a Turners Falls shop specializing in snakes, frogs and carnivorous plants.

“The largest prey they could take would be a small- to medium-sized rat,” Revis said.

The area in which the two Montague snakes were found is approximately one mile from the Highland Park area, connected by the General Pierce Bridge across the Gen. Pierce Bridge.

Ball pythons are ambush predators not prone to travel and would have to have been released in the early spring to cover the distance between one or other of the locations, Revis said, provided they were all released in the same spot.

“The source of these snakes, it would be next to impossible for them not to be from the same person,” Revis said, but they could have been released separately.

Revis said the snakes are typically secretive and blend well with their surroundings, and he theorized the recent cold is driving them into the open to bask.

The area climate is survivable if not ideal for the African snakes, but the first hard frost will kill any remaining outdoors, according to Revis.

“The first night in the low 20s, once it goes down that far, they will freeze solid,” Revis said.

Popular as pets, ball pythons could easily be sold through classifieds, according to Revis, and their release into the wild suggested their owner moved suddenly or perhaps was imprisoned, leaving the snakes in a dysfunctional home.

“Its just ridiculous, it’s so stupid,” Revis said.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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