A staff member at a Massachusetts hotel found a snake in a nightstand during routine room cleaning.
It happened on April 5 at a Marriott Residence Inn in Worchester, where a 5-foot reticulated python was coiled up in the drawer right next to the Bible, reports KABC.
"They were cleaning at 8:30 or 9 a.m., opened the drawer, and found the snake. That’s when we got the call," said Patrick Cherry, a Worchester animal control officer, as quoted by The Boston Globe.
The python was taken to Central Mass Aquatics, where it was diagnosed to be in good health, said the shop’s general manager, Rod Dzivasen, in an interview with the Worchester Telegram & Gazette. "He may be two years old but he’s not an old snake. Why on earth they had him in a hotel room is beyond me."
Dzivasen said the snake’s diet consists of mice and small prey. He noted that this particular snake’s unusual coloring, a creamy background with bands of yellow and brown, comes from breeding -- specific color traits that are bred into the snakes in an effort to make them more valuable, he explained.
The snakes are native to Asia and could never survive in the New England climate, he noted. Which is why they're rarely found in American hotel rooms, adds The Boston Globe.
Officials speculate that the python was probably not in the room alone for long. It is believed that the snake belongs to the room's previous occupant, who checked out the prior evening. It's likely that no one will be charged with abandoning the snake, said police.
Reptiles Magazine sheds some light on the species in question:
The reticulated python, also known as the "retic," has long captivated its audience with its large, muscular build, gorgeous iridescence and the beautifully patterned skin for which it is named. Long thought of as an aggressive, ill-tempered snake, the retic now, because of captive breeding, has a reputation as an easily cared for, highly intelligent and rewarding captive.
Mainland reticulated pythons are one of the world’s largest snakes, with exceptional examples being recorded at 32 feet long and weighing in at 350 pounds. These specimens are exceptional and very rare, with the average adult size staying between 10 to 20 feet long. ... On average, reticulated pythons live 15 to 20 years, with some individual snakes reaching 25 or even 30 years of age.
For owners of large snakes like reticulated pythons, herpetologist Owen Maercks has some advice to share. In an article for Pet Business magazine, he writes: "Should the pet owner have a snake larger than 12 feet, they should always have two things handy when working with the animal: a bottle of vodka and a friend. Hey, that’s just good advice in general, but with a snake, a friend can always help to unwrap, and alcohol doused into the snake’s mouth will immediately elicit a release response."