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Large snake skin is probably from Burmese python

MENA - A large snake skin that was found last month near Mena is probably from a Burmese python. Pythons are exotic animals and are native to southeast Asia. The shed skin was found in the Shirley Creek area of the Ouachita River.

According to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission herpetologist Kelly Irwin, this species of python is the most commonly produced python (captive bred for pet trade) in the U.S. “Either someone discarded the shed skin or the animal was intentionally released or escaped. Needless to say, if the snake is roaming free about the countryside it will not survive the winter, unless it finds a heated building to take up residence in,” Irwin said. “The only threat posed by such a snake would be to small dogs, cats, chickens, raccoons, opossums, etc. until freezing temps arrive,” he added.

Irwin said the snake poses no real threat to humans. “It will probably feed on something that it can easily subdue,” Irwin explained. “This is not the first instance of an exotic animal getting loose in Arkansas. Some people just don’t control their animals like they should,” he said.

The Burmese python has a bold color pattern mainly in browns and yellows. It grows to a length of 20 feet with a maximum recorded length of 25 feet.

Should anyone spot an exotic animal, they should contact their local wildlife officer immediately. It is unlawful for anyone to release native or non-native wildlife into the wild. It is punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,000.





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