NAPLES, Fla. - An East Naples man got an unexpected and uninvited visitor over the Thanksgiving weekend. Rick Dominicks found a 12-foot burmese python slithering around his backyard. He said he started to get suspicious that something might be in his yard after five of his chickens went missing in one week.
Three landscapers were clearing out leaves in his back yard when they told Dominicks they saw the python. The homeowner went out with a gun and nearly stepped on top of the snake.
"I was just scooping leaves off the top of him when he popped his head up and was right there," Dominicks said.
Without hesitating, Dominicks shot the snake and said he had no other option than to react quickly and shoot the snake.
"I didn't want him to get a hold of me," he said.
Burmese pythons are considered one of the largest snakes in the world and are dangerous to humans and animals. Steve Masek with Calusa Nature Center said this time of year- just before winter- is when you're most likely to see pythons in your yard, garage or boat.
"Right now they're going to be looking for any place they can find," Masek said.
It's not illegal to shoot and kill a burmese python on your own property, but FWC does not recommend trying to handle the snake yourself. Pythons have curved fangs which make it easier for the snake to dig into you and wrap its body around you, Masek said.
"They want to suffocate you and that's when they're going to size you up to see if they can eat you," Masek said.
FWC encourages anyone who spots a python-- or any other exotic species-- to report it by calling 1-888-483-4861 or going online to www.IveGot1.org.