A 13-foot albino python feasting on cats and other animals has been terrorizing an Oklahoma community for months and the hunt for the enormous serpent is ramping up.
The python has been in the area of the Burntwood Mobile Home Park for about five months, with the most recent sighting happening Friday, Trevor Bounds of Red Beard Wildlife Solutions told USA TODAY Wednesday morning.
Property management at the mobile home park reached out to him Friday to inspect some homes and see what he could find out.
When he spoke to people who live in the area, they said the snake had been in the trailer park for about five months and cats began disappearing in the area during the summer.
Bounds said the python is 13 feet long, give or take a foot or two. Residents showed him photos from months ago and it appeared to be much smaller then, Bounds said, adding that it's the biggest snake he has ever been called to take care of.
"One of the ladies said she had taken a picture of it," he said. "If the picture she showed me is the same snake, which I feel like it was, the snake I saw (in the photo) is much, much smaller."
Residents are also concerned that the mobile home park is across from an elementary school, Bounds said. He understands the concern but said the snake wants nothing to do with humans.
"As long as they're not approaching a snake and trying to pick it up, they'll be fine," he said, adding that the snake has likely been domesticated and won't charge people or show aggression ... It's smack dab in the middle of a trailer park. If it was going to be aggressive, we would've already seen that."
Where did the 13-foot python come from?
Bounds described the python as a yellow reticulated python. The species is not venomous and kills its prey by constriction.
It's unclear where the python came from but he thinks it may have been a pet that broke free or was released by its owner during the summer.
"It's not going to survive when the temperatures drop to 65," he said. "I mean, you'd be pushing it saying 70."
24-hour livestream camera searches for the feline-eating snake
Bounds checked out homes in the trailer park and found that one had a leaky pipe issue. Water from the leaky pipes paired with the crawlspace underneath the home is the perfect habitat for snakes of this sort, he said.
"It's got food, water shelter," he said. "We found bird feathers, things like that underneath the building."
The home, he said, is about 60 feet from the general area where multiple people spotted the python. He plans to create a funnel-style trap around the home.
He'll set up a 24-hour live feed to keep an eye on it once repairs are made. The thermal camera connected to the live feed will send Bounds pictures and video when the snake moves, hopefully allowing him to catch it.
The camera has a setting that works with cold-blooded animals like snakes, he said.
"For a cold-blooded animal, thermal is not going to work but if you play with the settings, I usually use the black hot (setting), you can kind of see their bone structure," he said.
What are reticulated pythons?
Reticulated pythons are native to Southeast Asia and typically reach up to 16 feet as adults, according to a Michigan-based reptile zoo called the Reptarium.
According to the zoo, the largest recorded reticulated python measured a whopping 32 feet in length and weighed 350 pounds.
Calling the pythons “opportunistic feeders,” the reptarium said the animals eat birds and mammals.
On average, their lifespans range from 15 to 20 years but some have lived at least 25 or 30 years, the zoo wrote on its website.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Python on loose in Oklahoma City mobile home park; search ongoing