Python surprise at Lely Country Club in Collier County

Published: June 27, 2022 4:29 PM EDT
Updated: June 29, 2022 4:58 PM EDT

A Burmese python at the Lely Country Club in Collier County gave people a scare who where walking their dogs.

A homeowner in the area, Michelle Letender, took a picture of the reptile. Letender said she was on her way to work on Friday when she heard landscapers screaming ‘python!’ Stopping to take a look, Letender said she was surprised by its size. She also shared that knowing pythons are slithering out of the Everglades and into neighborhoods is frightening.

“I was kind of freaked out because I walk my two little dogs over here so I know they are making their way into the neighborhoods of Naples and that’s kind of scary,” Letender said. “There’s a lot of building going on so their homes – all animal homes are getting destroyed as they’re starting to make their way to the neighborhoods.”

Letender said neighbors say some pets have disappeared recently. Burmese pythons, like all snakes, size depends on the frequency and size of their meals. This particular Burmese was estimated to be 15-feet-long and hefty.

python
Burmese python seen at Lely Country Club in Collier County. (CREDIT: MICHELLE LETENDER)

“You could tell it’s definitely eating whatever is in the area,” Letender said.

The University of Georgia tracks the invasive species by collecting data from federal, state, and local agencies, and volunteer observations. The picture below shows that while pythons thrive in the Everglades, they’re moving North.

Researchers at the Southwest Florida Conservancy Python Program said they track and remove Burmese pythons at the edge of town quite often. “We don’t want to sugarcoat either because their ranges are expanding that’s why people need to be alert,” Python Project Manager at SWFL Conservancy, Ian Bartoszek said.

python
University of George tracking invasive species in Florida. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Letender’s last word was be careful where you walk your dog or let your kids play. “It’s definitely scary.. knowing they live around here,” Letender said. “There’s definitely starting to be more and more..”

According to FWC, other invasive large python species include the reticulated python and the Northern African python.

It’s unclear how many of these invasive species are loose in Florida. Some experts say it could be hundreds of thousands with most of them in the Everglades.