PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. - It was a slithery surprise last week in Plaquemines Parish. A very large snake was accidently run over and killed while workers were mowing at a parish park.
Coming across wildlife is common in the area.
"You know, we get the occasional call of an alligator in the yard," said PPSO Public Information Officer, Lt. Eric Becnel.
However, recently mowers at Davant Park got quite the surprise.
"Last week we were notified from Parish workers that a tractor ran over at first what was believed to be a rope," said Lt. Becnel. "And once the driver got off the tractor to look under the bush it was actually a 9-foot snake."
The reptile died. At nine-feet long, officers couldn't believe what they were seeing.
"That's a large snake," said Lt. Becnel. "You know it's very uncommon anybody sees a snake this large almost anywhere."
The sheriff's office reached out to Audubon Nature Institute's Assistant Curator of Reptiles, Nick Hanna.
"It's hard to tell from the photo but it looked like a pretty big female, an adult female," said Hanna.
He said like most snakes, it's size and markings helped identify it.
"Oh it goes by many common names, like Red Tail Boa or Boa Constrictor," Hanna said.
The snake is usually found in North, Central and South America and some Caribbean Islands, which is why deputies and Audubon Nature Institute officials believe it was a pet dumped illegally.
"It had to have been someone's pet that they purposefully released which is against the law," said Hanna. "Or maybe it got out on its own."
While uncommon, household pets are sometimes released intentionally. It's something deputies say is concerning.
"We don't encourage anyone to release snakes into the wild because if there's a small child around or dogs or other pets, a snake, if they're hungry enough, can swallow those up pretty quickly," said Lt. Becnel.
The snake was found at Davant Park, but luckily no person or pet was harmed.
"As pets, they're usually not dangerous to humans or even small animals and such," said Hanna. "But if they do get out they could pose a threat to a small dog or small wildlife."
If you come across exotic wildlife, officials said to not approach it. It also could help to take a picture (safely) of the animal and send it to the Audubon Nature Institute and other officials. That way the animal can be identified and it can be figured out how to move forward.
(© 2016 WWL)