Python loose in Myrtle Beach neighborhood

By William Whitson, WMBF News Reporter Will Whitson - email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Neighbors in the Forestbrook area have been on high alert since a six foot long albino python was spotted in the area multiple times last week. An alert was first sent out about the snake on June 21st. Two days later, the scaly visitor was spotted again in a backyard in the 500 block of Forestbrook Road.

"You should be concerned for small pets and children in the neighborhood," says Lorraine Millard. Millard lives in the Forestbrook community and studies reptiles and amphibians at CCU. She has been assisting the community's neighborhood watch with information about how to deal with snakes on the loose.

"I can't imagine any native species to South Carolina that's six feet long and three inches in diameter." Millard says that pythons are not native to the area, and an albino python is typically only found in the United States as a pet.

Reptile experts at Alligator Adventure in Barefoot Landing back up her theory, saying that many snake owners choose to release their pets in the wild, rather than take them to shelters. They say that's a bad idea.

"It's a predator," says reptile expert Joe Keeton. "It's going to be out predating the local wildlife. And it's definitely something you shouldn't be releasing into this environment."

That's cause for concern for folks in Forestbrook with small animals, like John Jones. He usually let's his pug, Dakota, run free in his back yard. He says now, he'll think twice about that.

"I'll keep her on a leash when I take her out. It gives me a lot of concern, especially if the snake's hungry."

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