Police remove large ball python from Florida park

Police remove large ball python from Florida park
Paul Grata, an officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department, holds a ball python he captured in a park Wednesday morning. (St. Petersburg Police Department)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Police in west-central Florida found themselves grappling with a large snake in a park Wednesday morning.

Video shared by the St. Petersburg Police Department showed Officer Paul Grata capturing a ball python at Dell Holmes Park, WTVT reported.

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The species was identified by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer, the television station reported.

According to the FWC, ball pythons are nonnative snakes that are usually pets. They are often confused with Burmese pythons, an invasive species that grows to much longer lengths. Ball pythons rarely grow longer than 4 feet, wildlife officials said. Ball pythons were first observed in Florida in 1995, wildlife officials said.

According to police, Grata captured the snake, aided by a park employee, WFLA reported. Grata pulled the snake from the bushes by its tail and placed it in a garbage can, the television station reported.

The creature is now headed to a snake rehab facility in nearby Hillsborough County, WTSP reported.