WHITMAN COUNTY, Wash.--A Colfax landlord received a shock recently when he found an 11-foot python in his rental property. The landlord called Whitman County Sheriff’s deputies who needed veterinary experts to come help.
Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine captured and hospitalized the abandoned 11-foot-long reticulated python Tuesday night. The snake is believed to have been abandoned by renters in a house near Colfax according to WSU officials.
This is the second time in a month that law enforcement has asked for assistance from WSU to catch a large snake, according to College of Veterinary Medicine officials.
WSU workers said the snake was slightly undernourished but weighed 22 pounds. It suffered moderate burns before its capture according to staff at WSU. They said the cold-blooded snake curled around a heater at the rental property.
Leaders at WSU estimated that cost for keeping the snake could run upwards of $1,000.
“These things are professionally frustrating for us and frankly offer little in terms of teaching value. This snake was owned and the owner has left it abandoned, injured and underweight for society to deal with. Under the law, we can’t simply destroy it until the appropriate length of time has passed for an owner to claim it and we have exhausted our responsibilities to place it with a new owner,” said Nickol Finch, WSU veterinarian.
The vet center will hold the python for two weeks in hope the owner comes forward. If an owner does not come forward, they will try and find it a home at somewhere like a zoo. However, Finch said it would be difficult for them to give the snake to a zoo because of its size.
“Most zoos are overrun by snakes that big and they can't deal with it anymore,” said Finch.
Anyone interested in donating to the snake’s care or joining a registry for selection as its potential new owner can contact the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital at 509-335-0711.