Giant Python Snakes Are Being Found in People's Car Engines: How to Stay Safe
Experts say snakes are likely looking for a warm place to hide.
Snake sightings have been startling people all across the U.S. recently. Just this month alone, a mother in Tennessee found a copperhead in her child's stroller, and an Amazon delivery driver was left in critical condition after being struck by a rattlesnake near someone's front door in Florida. Now, at least two vehicle owners have also made unsettling snake discoveries. Read on to learn how you can stay safe as giant pythons are being found in people's car engines.
Police pulled a python from a car engine in North Carolina earlier this month.
At the beginning of September, police officers in Kannapolis, North Carolina, were called by a resident who had found a large snake hanging from the engine of their parked car, The Charlotte Observer reported. "Just add snake wrangler to our list of duties! This little guy hitched a ride from Mooresville to Kannapolis and didn't want to leave," the Kannapolis Fire and Police Department wrote in a Sept. 7 Facebook post.
According to the newspaper, commenters quickly identified the non-native snake as a ball python. The department indicated that Officer Jason Whitley had removed the python from the engine, which was shown in a photo on the post. "It was not released. We found a person to care for it," police told The Charlotte Observer.
A similar scenario took place in Wisconsin.
This hasn't only occurred in North Carolina. A resident in Green Bay, Wisconsin, also recently found a similarly giant snake hiding in their car engine, NBC 26 reported. According to the local news outlet, police identified the reptile as a seven-foot-long jungle carpet python.
"It's kind of scary. I never thought anybody would be able to find a python underneath the hood of their car," Ellen Chaudoir, a Green Bay resident who lives near the block where the snake was found, told NBC 26. "For one thing, I don't like snakes. Another thing, it just seems so unreal."
Experts say snakes like to hide in car engines for warmth.
Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Curator of Animals Lori Bankson said that the non-native snake found in Wisconsin was likely a pet that escaped from a nearby home—although police were unable to identify any residents with the exotic pet owner permits that are needed to keep jungle pythons in the city, UPI reported.
According to Bankson, the seven-foot python was first spotted in a garage on Pecan Street before it made its way under the hood of a parked vehicle on the block. "The owner of the vehicle was not the owner of the snake," she told NBC 26. "Most likely, the snake crawled up into this person's engine to stay warm, and found a good place to hang out for a little while."
A.H. David, a snake expert and founder of Pest Control Weekly, previously told Best Life that snakes are cold-blooded so they often try seeking out warm places to hide. "As reptiles, snakes depend on their environment to regulate body temperature," David explained. "A warm engine is a good heat source."
You should call animal control if you find a snake in your car's engine.
David said he recommends that people "try parking in their garage" to make it harder for snakes to get access into their vehicles. But you should also avoid leaving any clear entry points available to these warmth-seeking reptiles. "They can easily sneak in through an open door or window—or even up into your engine, undercarriage, or trunk if it's left open," John West, a pest expert from Alamo Termite & Pest Control previously told Best Life.
But if you do find any snake, including a python, hiding out in your car's engine, Bankson told NBC 26 that you should avoid starting your car right away and call animal control immediately. You should never just let them stay there, as "snakes can become wrapped up in moving belts and also cause electrical fires," according to Toyota of Orlando. But you shouldn't try to grab them with your bare hands either.
"Remember, they're at an advantage in their hiding spot and could likely strike at you before you got them. If you have a pole or some other instrument to get them out, use that," they said. "Otherwise, contact animal control to come and assist you in removing snakes from your car."