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Fugitive Python Found by Plumbing ‘Snake’

February 24, 2006

REXBURG, Idaho (AP) _ Bessy the Burmese python is recovering in an animal shelter after spending two weeks dodging searchers and an infrared camera in a 57,000-square-foot apartment complex.

The 8-foot-snake’s hiding spot was found Tuesday by another ``snake″ _ a 100-foot-long device with a camera on the end normally used to locate plumbing problems in hard-to-reach places.

``It’s the most interesting plumbing job I’ve had so far,″ said Kip Salas of Advanced Plumbing, who discovered Bessy in the bathroom ceiling after a three-hour search of the southeastern Idaho apartment below the unit from which she escaped.

``I’m just glad she’s alive and not hurt too badly,″ Chelsea Stanford, the python’s owner, told the Post Register.

After finding the snake, Stanford and animal control officers tried to lure her out with a white rat snack without success. So they lassoed Bessy with a steel collar and dragged her from the hole in the ceiling. Bessy received some scratches during her ordeal _ and an eviction notice.

``We’re going to let it eat, then it’s leaving the building forever,″ said Kevin Kennedy, the apartment owner, who wanted the snake out of the complex dead or alive.

Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia and some islands in the East Indies. They can grow to 20 feet, weigh up to 200 pounds, and live about 25 years. Not venomous, pythons wrap their bodies around small animals to suffocate them before eating them whole.

Bessy went missing two weeks ago after apparently escaping through a hole in a bathroom wall. Stanford put up notices around the complex about the missing python, which caused some residents to refuse to spend the night in their apartments.

``We weren’t too nervous but we’ll definitely sleep better,″ said resident Ben Brown after Bessy’s capture. ``As long as there aren’t any rattling noises in the walls.″

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