Tonight I walked to my apartment in the dark from the home of some friends. As I was walking through a wooded section where light was scarce a thought crossed my mind: I’m glad we don’t have large reptiles in PA. For some reason that fleeting thought stuck with me, and as I walked I reflected on how a large reptile population would change the way I lived (I probably wouldn’t walk home without a light in the dark).
When I got back to my apartment I happened to read the local news at the Centre Daily Times website. A story on the front page jumped out at me: “Ferguson Township police seek escaped 10-foot python.” Guess what township I live in? Yup, it’s Ferguson. The snake was lost on Linn Street, which happens to run parallel to Curtin Street, which I just walked moments ago.
Here’s the funny thing, when I was walking up Curtin Street something rustled (or slithered) in a pile of large plant debris piled on the curb beside the road. Whatever creature was in the pile of debris waited until I was walking past, about two feet away, before moving suddenly. It caused me to jump, but I assumed it was a raccoon, opossum,cat, or squirrel. If I had known there was a 10-foot python loose in the area I would have shattered Usain Bolt’s 50m time.
Do I really think it was the snake? Probably not. It would be very unlikely. But while I was walking home I would have said the odds of me passing within a few feet of a large python on this dark night were millions to one, after reading the news story I think the odds just changed.
FYI: If you live close by you might not want to leave small children, cats, or dogs outside unattended.
The State College police just captured the eel in snakes clothing around 8pm on Wednesday. It was in a yard by a house on Harris Street.