[Reticulated Python/Creative Commons License]

Monterey Zoo director Charlie Sammut vividly remembers receiving a phone call last Tuesday. Someone had left a box on the side of the road that had a cardboard sign next to it that read: “Do not open large snake inside.”

He did not waste time and immediately went on the corner of Del Monte road in Marina, California, to investigate.

Upon inspection, the box was closed with zip ties and had tiny holes punched in the sides.

Upon arrival at the zoo, the plastic ties were cut by zoo employees to reveal a 150 lb, 17-foot-long reticulated python that had already died, either by suffocation or heat exhaustion.

People buy these types of snakes as tiny babies in pet stores but do not realize that they get enormous and are difficult and expensive to manage, Sammut told the SacBee.

He added that nobody could take the poor snake and are difficult to rehome, so they just dump them, hoping that someone will find them and take care of them, so the pet owners do not have to.

Abandoning animals without attention and/or proper care in any building, enclosure, lot, street, or other public space is a misdemeanor in California.

The zoo director urges anyone who has a pet they don’t want anymore to contact SPCA and surrender their animal. In cases in which SPCA can’t be reached, he said the Monterey Zoo can act as a go-between.

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