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Another Snake Story from Everglades National Park


Non-native pythons are becoming a menace in Everglades National Park. NPS Photo.

How do you remove a python from your rig's engine block? That was the problem a visitor to Everglades National Park recently encountered. The solution is not as simple as you might think.

You might recall that back in July I told you about some of the problems pythons were causing in Everglades. Well, those problems aren't going away. Just ask Ron DeLong, who earlier this month pulled his Ford Explorer over to get a better look at a 6-foot-long Burmese python that was slithering across the road. Bad idea.

Here's how the tale unfolded, according to Pine Island District Ranger Willie Lopez:

As DeLong stepped out of his Ford Explorer, the python began crawling underneath the vehicle and into its engine compartment. DeLong attempted to grab the python with the curved end of his walking cane, but was unable to stop it. After several failed attempts to remove the snake, DeLong decided to drive 15 miles to the main entrance station for assistance.

When ranger Willie Lopez, wildlife biologist Skip Snow, biologist's assistant Alex Wolf and firefighter Henry Delvalle checked the Explorer, they found its hood open, with only the tail end of the python visible - the rest of the snake was coiled around various parts of the engine and undercarriage. Several attempts were made to pull it out through the top of the engine, but failed because the snake tightened its hold on the car. The four responders then discussed their options.

Snow reported that there had been several published articles about the successful use of Tasers to loosen the tight grip of constricting snakes, so that was tried. Unfortunately, it resulted in the python contracting and excreting bodily fluids all over the responders. They then decided to disassemble parts of the Explorer's undercarriage in order to get to the python's head, which was then covered with duct tape. The snake's head and body were uncoiled and maneuvered through the engine compartment, then pulled out the top of the engine.

Since Burmese pythons are exotic, prolific and aggressive, the snake was euthanized and taken to a lab to be studied. DeLong's car was then put back together.


Snakes? Why'd it have to be snakes?

Southern Florida is an ecological mess. There are so many people releasing non-native "things" into the 'glades, canals, swimming pools, and coastal waters. There are thousands of stories like this just waiting to be reported and while entertaining on one level, it's also a very sad statement on humans' unique ability to truly foul things up.

"it resulted in the python contracting and excreting bodily fluids all over the responders." -Pet pythons being released into the Everglades is a serious problem which poses real threats to an already fragile ecosystem. And good honest men providing assistance to an individual in despair is a great deed. But a giant snake stuck inside an engine compartment that got tazed and began to spray excrement everywhere is downright ... hilarious.

This comment was edited for our family readers. -- Ed.

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