Parents of small children and pet owners can breathe a little easier today after a 23-foot, 130-pound Reticulated Python reported missing by a San Luis Obispo resident was found at approximately 1:15 p.m. Monday in a neighbor’s backyard near Foothill Boulevard.
The snake’s owner, Brandon Dennis, last saw the snake at 10 p.m. Sunday before it went missing. A search party was organized and Search and Rescue Team members Glen Sparks and Joe Calgagno located it.
“They saw tracks on the ground, looking like somebody might have drug something there,” said Dan Blanke, San Luis Obispo Police Department Operations Captain.
“It was found in the backyard of an elderly lady’s home just basking in the sun.”
After learning about the escape, police warned surrounding residents that small children and pets should remain inside because a snake of this size could consume them. Reticulated pythons, though usually not considered dangerous, are capable of killing adults.
Nearby resident and Cal Poly industrial engineering senior Steve Sharer was anxious about the loose reptile.
“I was a little nervous,” he said. “I’m not a big snake fan and if you hear that a 130-pound python is loose, and we’re being told that children and small pets should stay inside. Yeah, I was a little nervous, but curious about it too.”
He and other nearby residents can live without fear. Once the large orange reptile was found, Dennis was contacted to retrieve his lost pet; a task that doesn’t come easy.
“When animal control called, we were told that to capture the snake we need one adult person for every four feet of body length,” Blanke said.
As Dennis and a friend made the trek back home, people surrounded them, taking pictures of the two men hoisting the enormous python on their shoulders.
“The guys that were holding the snake seemed happy to have it back,” said Sharer.
“Police officers were taking pictures and making jokes. Nobody really seemed scared that the snake was going to attack anyone.”
The python is fully domesticated and is one of two kept in a cage at the house on Ramona Street.
It is believed that it escaped from its cage sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday, snuck out the sliding-glass back door, and slithered through fences before it found a resting place in a yard off Patricia Drive, police said.
The other, smaller, 12-foot python also escaped, but was found not far from its cage under the front porch of the owner’s home, Blanke said.