Published: Jan 28, 2011 7:48 PM EST
Updated: Jan 28, 2011 4:48 PM EST

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) - It took three police officers to trap a 14 1/2-foot African rock python and deliver it to wildlife officials.

A man spotted the 150-to-200 pound snake sunning itself in the woods near an apartment complex Thursday. He guarded it with a mop while his roommate called police.

Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the snake was "well-fed" and was a pet at one point.

African rock pythons are a labeled a "reptile of concern" in Florida. Owners must have a permit and the snakes must be registered and kept in a locked container.

Officials say they will check to see if the snake is registered. If not, it will be turned over to someone licensed to keep pythons.