When snake collector Pat Howard accepted two pythons from a man in New York, he didn’t realize how huge they were. Once he realized that they were too large to safely care for and that he did not have the permits for them, he called Vermont game wardens to take them off his hands.
The larger of the reticulated pythons weighed about 220 pounds and was 17-18 feet long. The smaller snake weighed about 150 pounds and stretched 15 feet long. These types of snakes can weigh as much as 350 pounds and reach almost 30 feet long.
Howard has almost two dozen smaller snakes in his home and frequently takes in snakes from people. He said that many species can be purchased inexpensively when they are small, but can grow to be large for people to take care of. Howard was concerned that feeding time would be particularly dangerous with these types of snakes and that they would be difficult to handle alone.
Vermont game warden Chad Barrett handles exotic wildlife and praised Howard for promptly turning over the snakes to the proper authorities. Barrett said that these were probably the biggest snakes that his agency has dealt with.
Three game wardens helped turn the snakes over to representatives from the Rainforest Reptile Shows—a Massachusetts sanctuary that will take homeless snakes. Rainforest snake expert Mack Ralbovsky and coworker EmmaLee Eng drove to Vermont to take the snakes back to Massachusetts.
Rainforest Reptile Shows is a family-owned business in Beverly, Massachusetts that has over 200 exotic reptiles. These animals are used in an interactive show to educate children and adults about reptiles. Mack Ralbovsky and Joaney M. Gallaghers—the husband and wife team who are the cofounders—provide training and assistance to conservation officers all over New England.
All’s well that ends well, and the snakes now have an appropriate home.