A 15-foot python is on the run in Morgantown, West Virginia, leading police to issue an alert telling all parents to closely watch their children.
“Anyone who comes across the snake is asked to call 911 immediately,” said an alert from the Morgantown Police Department. “Residents are asked to pay close attention to children and small pets while outdoors.”
The snake escaped into the night from a truck just before 11 p.m. Thursday, said a Facebook post. Police say the snake, which is about 4-inches wide, was last seen dangling from a tree in the Sabraton area of the city, which is home to West Virginia University.
“During transport, the snake escaped its enclosure and was inside the vehicle,” said a police release.
“The owner then exited the vehicle and the snake escaped into the woods where it climbed a tree,” police said. “Officers were unable to secure the snake.”
Police didn’t release the name of the “male subject” who was driving around with the snake, or where it was being taken.
Pythons are not native to the United States, but have become an invasive species in south Florida’s Everglades.
Morgantown officials did not say what type of python was on the loose. There are 41 species of the nonvenomous snake, including some that can grow to more than 30 feet, according to LiveScience.
The larger of the species are considered “potentially dangerous to humans,” according to Reptileknowledge.com.
“It’s because they are so large and powerful. They can quite literally squeeze a human to death, and there are plenty of documented cases to support this,” says the site.