Florida

A Florida family runs into a python. Here is what they did —and didn’t — do

By CARLI TEPROFF

Miami Herald

What to do when you meet a python

Stay calm leads the list. Here is what the experts say people should do when they encounter the snake in South Florida.
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Stay calm leads the list. Here is what the experts say people should do when they encounter the snake in South Florida.

Felix Suarez, along with his wife and two teenage daughters, were out looking for decent photo opportunities for a school project when they spotted something none of them expected — a python.

“At first my daughter thought it was fake,” said Suarez, who brought them on Sunday to the intersection of Southwest 112th Street and the railroad tracks, east of Krome Avenue, in Miami.

So she tossed a rock from where they were standing — on a bridge looking down at the marsh and canal — and he pulled out his cellphone to capture the moment.

Sure enough, the thump of the rock startled the snake, which lifted its head and slithered further into the brush.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Scott Mullin from the department's Venom One unit responded, but couldn't find the snake.

Mullin said python sightings are popular between April and October, which is considered by the Venom Unit as snake-bite season. The state’s annual Python Challenge, which ran from January to February, yielded more than 100 snakes.

“Most pythons are active in that period, mostly at night,” he said.

Mullin offered five tips for anyone who encounters a python:

▪ Stay calm pythons won't chase you unless you corner them or chase them.

▪ Take a picture with your cellphone. Most phones Geo-tag pictures so Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can track the sightings.

▪ Call 311 to report the snake. Miami-Dade County’s 311 will take the info to pass on to the the fire department.

▪ Download the free app that state Fish and Wildlife biologists designed.

▪ Unless you’re a professional don't approach a python over eight feet. That includes throwing anything at it. It can pose a risk to humans.

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