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Huge Python Was 4th Snake Sighting In Chicago Home, Neighbors Say

By  Alex Nitkin and Joe Ward | September 20, 2016 9:26am | Updated on September 23, 2016 10:30am

 A woman found the snake wrapped around her shower curtain Monday night, according to a neighbor who saw it.
A woman found the snake wrapped around her shower curtain Monday night, according to a neighbor who saw it.
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Chicago Animal Care & Control / contributed photo

ENGLEWOOD — A woman found a 3-foot python on the shower curtain in her Englewood home Monday night — and it wasn't the first time a snake had invaded her home.

It's the fourth time, neighbors said.

"She's really scared," said C.P., a neighbor who declined to give his full name. "I mean, everyone's worried. People don't even want to sit down on the toilet no more."

And though the snakes are "escape artists" that can go for months without eating, the pythons are harmless to residents of the building, one expert said.

Around 10 p.m., the woman called 911 to report that a python was in her home in the 6500 block of South Normal Avenue, according to Officer Ana Pacheco, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.

The snake was taken into possession by Chicago Animal Care & Control, Pacheco said.

It was the fourth snake the woman had found in her apartment in the last three months, according to C.P., a family friend who said he lives in the building next to hers.

The woman called C.P. to her second-floor apartment Monday night after she discovered the python wrapped around her shower curtain, he said.

He had trapped and killed another snake she'd found last month, he said, but he refused to touch the massive python he saw Monday.

The snake found in her bathroom is a ball python, a popular house pet that generally grows to 3 or 4 feet but can get as large as 5 feet, said John Archer of the Chicago Herpetological Society.

Such snakes may be intimidating, but they are harmless, even to babies and pets, Archer said.

"Unless you have a pet rat," Archer joked. "The ball python is totally harmless."

Animal control workers "impounded the python and will transfer it to the Chicago Herpetological Society for housing and care," according to a statement from Chicago Animal Care & Control.

Archer said the herpetological society will foster the snake before trying to adopt it out. He said finding the pet a home might be hard right now because the pets have been popular among reptile fans for some time.

"If you want one, you probably have one," Archer said. "They're very docile. They're great starter snakes."

Carolyn Sims, another next-door neighbor whose daughter had been dispatched to handle previous snake sightings, had one theory as to where they came from.

"There was a woman who lived up there on the third floor, and she bred snakes," Sims said. "But she moved out in January. I don't know, something must have been left behind, 'cause they just keep multiplying."

Archer said it's extremely unlikely that the snakes are breeding by themselves, as successful breeding takes very specific circumstances.

But he did say the snakes could have been left behind. If they were left behind in an apartment, they would have no problem getting out. They don't need to eat for months at a time, Archer said.

"Snakes are escape artists," he said. "You can lose a much larger snake than that and not find them for months and months.

"There might be more, they're so hard to find," Archer said.

Rats in the building's basement would likely be the snakes' best source of food, Archer said.

A representative of Eastlake Management Group, which owns the three-story brick apartment building, said animal control workers had inspected the building Tuesday morning and found no other animal remnants in the building.

"We're continuing to work with animal control and police to make sure that nothing is there," Lydia Eady, the management company's marketing director, told DNAinfo Tuesday. "We've also brought on an outside pest company. We always want our residents to be safe and comfortable in their homes."

The building has a no-pet policy, she added.

Residents near the apartment had already been on edge, C.P. said, and Monday night's sighting only made them more fearful.

"It's hard to sleep knowing that snakes are constantly coming into your crib," he said outside his home Tuesday morning. "Like you could be sleeping, and they could come and strangle you."

Jarrod Beck, who lives in the same building as the woman who found the snakes, said he hadn't heard about the sightings, but they concerned him nonetheless.

"We got a lot of little kids in this building — I'm talking about babies," Beck said. "So to be letting snakes around here is just stupid, dangerous and irresponsible."

No one was hurt Monday, police said.

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