Look out for loose pythons in Camden

It’s no longer Camden by the sea. It’s Camden by the snakes. For the second time this year, a large albino python was found sliding around town, discovered by someone out walking their dog. Dogs are supposed to be leashed, but not pythons!

This year the legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee debated expanding the list of exotic animals that require permits, including pythons, but rejected that idea. So you can possess pythons without a permit, and you do not need to notify your neighbors, DIF&W, police, or anyone else when your python gets loose.

I learned of this latest python escape on Facebook, which provided a link to the story in the Village Soup. The report noted that a group of people nearly stepped on the snake in the early morning hours of September 21. The snake was in the middle of the road. The guy that saw it first actually moved the snake to the side of the road. Now that’s one brave guy! Police found the snake’s owner, woke him up, and returned the python to him.

On September 12, a Camden woman found a large python in her garden. The owner reported that his snake had been missing for a month!

I loved some of the comments from readers of the latest news story. “Next time I go to Camden will take an ax for each hand,” said one person.

“Well (the snake) could control the cat and rat population and your occasional small dog,” wrote another.

Well, indeed!

And then there was my favorite comment, which I used in the first two sentences of this column.

Camden is also the place that a population of exotic turtles got established in the wild after getting loose. DIF&W allowed those turtles to be possessed, thinking that with our climate the turtles could never live here in the wild. That turned out to be incorrect.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.