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Mystery of Burmese python skin is unraveled

ODEN - A large snake skin that was found last month near Oden was probably from a Burmese python that shed its skin while in possession of an Oden man. The snake was never in the wild and has since been put down.

According to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer Phillip Abernathy, the Oden man owned two Burmese pythons. “One was 10 feet long and the other was 13 feet long,” Abernathy said. “Apparently, he was leaving the country to work abroad and his wife refused to take care of the snakes during his absence,” he added.

The man tried to find a home for the two snakes, but was unsuccessful, Abernathy said. “He tried to sell them, he tried to get a zoo to take them, but with no luck. “He put them down, but before doing so both snakes shed their skin. As a joke, he took one of the skins to a local river and left it on the bank. It was found by a fishermen and the rest of the story is history,” he explained.

AGFC herpetologist Kelly Irwin said this species of python is the most commonly produced python, which is bred for pet trade, in the U.S. 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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