In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Paul and Ben Hernandez were woken up by their dog Alaska barking on their back porch in Marietta, Georgia.
She spotted something on her bed, which was later determined to be a Burmese python.
“I hear my dog barking, and I went out and there was something black on her bed that she usually sleeps on and she was barking on it,” Paul tell CBS46. “She looked like she was trying not to eat him, but she looked like she wasn’t leaving him alone.”
After turning on a flashlight on the Alaskan bed, Paul found the snake but did not recognize what type of snake it was.
The media reported that Paul and his father, Ben, both came out around 7 a.m., where they discovered the snake had crawled into a chair on their back porch. Ben knew immediately what type of snake they were dealing with.
“When I saw her I knew she was a Burmese Python because I saw them on TV shows,” Ben told CBS46.
According to National Geographic, Burmese pythons have a “generally docile disposition.” They are native to Southeast Asia and are one of the largest snakes on Earth with the capacity to be 23 feet or more in length and weigh up to 200 pounds. Its circumference, National Geographic reported, can be as large as a telephone pole. The python kills by constriction.
However, as the magazine points out, Burmese pythons are frequently released into the wild. So many non-native pythons have been released specifically in South Florida that they have established a breeding population in Everglades National Park, as noted by the United States Geological Survey.
“Pythons compete with native fauna for food, which includes mammals, birds and other reptiles,” the USGS wrote. “The severe decline of mammals in Everglades National Park has been linked to Burmese pythons.”
The agency went on to write that the stomachs of the Burmese pythons, when removed from the national park and other areas in Florida, contained the mammals whose populations have declined the most significantly.
News week reported in August of a snake elimination challenge that took place in Florida. Participants were encouraged to find and humanely destroy the Burmese pythons. A total of 223 of these pythons were hunted.
The Hernandezes called animal control, and a representative told the two that the python on their porch was likely a pet that had escaped their home.
“He said it was probably someone’s pet the way she acted when he caught it,” Ben told CBS46. “She wasn’t aggressive at all, so she’s used to people.”
The snake was taken to a nearby facility where authorities worked to locate the owner.
News week contacted animal services but had no response at press time.