By Greg Gross
Gregory Bean had his fair share of calls for loose exotic snakes while a police officer in southern Florida.
But when he got a call for a roughly 10-foot python found in the wild in North Codorus Township, the Southwestern Regional Police chief was more than a little surprised.
"It's definitely a normal call down there (in Florida) but to hear that come over the air (in Pennsylvania) is pretty unusual," Bean said.
The snake was found along West College Avenue by a state Department of Transportation crew about 11 a.m., according to police.
A responding officer found the reptile coiled in a hollow log, police said.
Added help: Knowing the snake would be in danger because of the colder weather its not accustomed to, the officer, with the help of the PennDOT crew, corralled the snake into a receptacle and took it to the police station.
The snake, which can be very agitated and aggressive when in warmer weather, was docile thanks to cooler temperatures during the move, police said.
Police contacted Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary, a Lancaster County-based nonprofit organization that is a shelter for reptiles, to take possession of the snake.
Its president, Jesse Rothacker, told officers that the reptile appeared to be in good health and had quite a bit of muscle tone, Bean said.
Police said they believe the snake has been in the wild for sometime.
Calls: Over the past two weeks, the department received several calls about a large snake spotted on roads in the area where the python was found. However, police did not receive any calls about a lost snake from its owner, police said.
"The thought, at the moment, is that someone released it," Bean said, the serpent may have grown too large for its owner to care for it.
With the snake in care of the sanctuary, Bean said attempts will be made to return it to its owner but if that doesn't happen, it will be put up for adoption by Forgotten Friend.
Bean was a police officer in Boynton Beach, Fla., for 20 years before he became Southwestern Regional's first chief in 2002. While in Florida, Bean said he responded to calls for venomous snakes in homes almost weekly, but calls for non-native snakes were less frequent.
"It was not unusual, probably monthly for the exotic snakes," he said.
Anyone interested in adopting the python should email Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Officer Dennis Brillhart (717) 225-1333 ext. 108.