PHOTOS: 9-foot python discovered in Marco Island backyard

A 9-foot Burmese Python was discovered on Marco Island at 831 Buttonwood Court on Thursday, March 11, 2010.  The exotic snake was captured by officials with Florida Wildlife Comission and taken back to the FWC facility on Shell Island Road. Greg Kahn/Staff

A 9-foot Burmese Python was discovered on Marco Island at 831 Buttonwood Court on Thursday, March 11, 2010. The exotic snake was captured by officials with Florida Wildlife Comission and taken back to the FWC facility on Shell Island Road. Greg Kahn/Staff

— Landscapers came across a slithery surprise on Marco Island today as they discovered a 9-foot python sneaking out from underneath a home's lanai.

City Environmental Specialist Nancy Richie said Gary Grisko, owner of Sand Castle Landscaping, immediately called her, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Marco Island Police Department as his two employees stood guard over the snake.

"The snake was just laying in the grass, it didn't move," Richie said of her arrival on the scene.

No one was home at 836 Button Wood Ct. when the two landscapers made the discovery. Home owner Andy Singer wasn't immediately able to be reached for comment.

Richie said the FWC is trapping about three or four of the species each week in the area surrounding Marco Island, including recent discoveries at Rookery Bay, just north of Marco Island.

"They (landscapers) were standing there holding their pole saws out to keep the snake back," Richie said.

"They weren't getting close... The perspective is totally different when it's not in a cage, when it's that big," she added.

An FWC trapper, who works undercover and asked not to be identified, trapped the snake within minutes.

"The trapper used a noose, securing the mean end, the head... He said it weighed about 40 pounds," Richie reported.

The invasive species was put into a sack, which was tied, and taken off-Island by the FWC.

It will be euthanized and checked for a microchip to see if it was once someone's pet.

Richie said the snake-sightings are expected to be more prevalent as it warms up and the python found today was still somewhat lethargic due to the recent cold spell.

"If you have one (python), you have more," she added.

Pythons, a nonnative invasive species, have been spreading across South Florida, endangering native ecosystems, scientists say. Some estimates put the number in the tens of thousands.

Everglades National Park biologist Skip Snow, on the front lines of the park's battle against the advancing constrictors, said the discovery on Marco is another example that water is not a hindrance to the pythons' spread.

"There is no question they can make that trip," Snow said.

Check back for more on this story

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