IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — A 4-foot-long ball python was found on a local hiking trail after officials say the reptile’s owner abandoned it.
Channel 9's partners at the Statesville Record and Landmark reported that the snake was found dead over the weekend in Mac Anderson Park on North Race Street.
This particular type of python is commonly kept as a pet and officials believe the owner had trouble caring for it and released it into the wild.
The snake is more dangerous to small animals than anything else, said Director of Animal Services Brad Gates.
“It’s not helpful to the indigenous animals into the park, but it’s not too much of a problem for the people other than it might scare them,” he said. “It’s not dangerous to people or regular-sized pets. It’s reasonable that it could be dangerous to a small pet.”
Gates said while it is not illegal to own a ball python in Iredell County, there are certain rules owners must follow.
“It is legal to keep them until they are 10 feet long, but once they reach 8 feet, they have to be microchipped, according to our ordinance,” Gates said.
Authorities urge owners to call Animal Control if they want to give up their exotic pets.
“We have a snake specialist (on staff),” Gates said. “We’ll be happy to give any advice on care or how to surrender the animal. … You should never release any domestic animal into the wild. In fact, that would be considered abandonment.”
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