A python sneaked aboard a sailboat in the Florida Keys and lurked undetected until the boat finished a near-100-mile voyage, police said.
The crew found the 7ft snake in the boat’s shower after docking on Friday at Marco Island, on the south-west Florida Gulf coast, after a trip from Indian Key, a distance of about 95 miles around the southern tip of the state.
Police responded and transferred the snake to a local wildlife handler, according to a news release.
The police department posted multiple photos of a uniformed officer grinning on the boat with the python coiled multiple times around his arm.
In May, an “8ft-plus” python was captured on a boat in Coral Gables, the Miami Herald reported.
Pythons believed to be descended from pets are ravaging native species in parts of southern Florida and overrunning the Everglades. The pythons, which can grow to 20ft and 200lb, prey on native mammal and bird populations.
The US Geological Survey has said there is no evidence of pythons swimming from the Everglades to the Keys but has not ruled it out entirely.
“Because pythons regularly escape or are released from captivity, it can be difficult to determine whether a snake encountered in the Keys arrived there by swimming from the mainland or was a former captive pet on the island,” the agency has said.
Snake on a boat: 7ft python hitches 100-mile ride round Florida coast