Of them ‘incredibly lucky’ ball pythons dumped in a North Carolina forest are getting a second chance at life thanks to a mindful mushroom hunter, according to a reptile rescue group.
The snakes, nicknamed Chanterelle and Morel, were rescued after someone abandoned them near Duke Forest in Durham this week, according to BeWild Reptile Rescue.
Forager Reid Stansell was hunting mushrooms on Thursday, May 26, when his search revealed two small snakes locked in a Kritter Keeper terrarium not far from the road, the group said on Facebook. Rescuers believe the cage had been there for some time, citing a “hardened” substrate on its side.
“Although many reptiles are found outdoors or abandoned in tanks each year, this is by far the worst case scenario we have seen as they were NOT placed in a location where they could have been. easily found,” the band wrote. “Obviously we shouldn’t have to say this, but please don’t abandon your pets outside at all.”
Chanterelle had several small cuts on her body, rescuers said, while Morel was underweight and dehydrated with a head injury. The two would likely have died of starvation or dehydration had they not been found.
“We have no way of knowing how long they were there,” AJ Hallatt, co-director of rescue, told McClatchy News. “There were also native isopods (woodlice/rollie pollies) in the substrate. So we think it’s probably been at least a few days.
Ball pythons, named for their tendency to curl into a ball when threatened, are native to sub-Saharan Africa and are not equipped to withstand the climates of North Carolina, the group said. Non-venomous snakes are usually kept as pets and can grow up to 5 feet in length.
McClatchy News contacted Stansell on Friday, May 27 and was awaiting a response.
Rescuers said the snakes would be up for adoption once they recovered.
“We quarantine all animals for at least 30 days, longer if they show any health issues,” Hallatt said. “The larger snake (Chanterelle) will likely be available after this time, but the smaller one (Morel) will need more time and care to reach a healthy weight.”
This story was originally published May 27, 2022 12:15 p.m.