When you're out in the woods preparing for the upcoming hunting season, you may encounter a thing or two that leaves you scratching your head. Nature has a way of producing some interesting sights as well as some downright unpleasant ones that you'd prefer not to see. One of the later is a python on the loose in Missouri.
Though your first thought may be to laugh off the presence of a python wandering about in Missouri, such a case has actually existed recently. In Warren County near Jonesburg, Missouri, a shocked and surprised resident found just that in her yard. Upon hearing a ruckus from her St. Bernard, Pauline Horstdaniel went out to investigate. What she was greeted with was something rather surprising, that being a Burmese python.
Weighing in at 160 pounds and measuring 14 feet and four inches, a Burmese python is capable of doing devastating damage to both man and beast alike. This particular type of snake is not venomous but is instead a constrictor which coils about and squeezes its prey to death before consuming it whole. Since this snake was known to be on the loose in Jonesburg, at least three chickens and two dogs have come up missing, quite likely consumed by a snake large enough to kill a man if presented with such an opportunity. By going outside when she did, Ms. Horstdaniel likely saved the life of her own canine companion.
Upon finding the snake in her yard, Pauline Horstdaniel informed her husband of its presence. He dispatched the snake with a couple of blasts from a shotgun, bringing calm to a nervous community that had spent a few days concerned about the whereabouts of the snake. Though it was most likely an escape or released pet, it was certainly hungry, having gone after a poodle in the days prior to its death which is how the community became aware of its presence.
Though this particular type of snake is not native to Missouri, pythons have been a great source of problems in Florida and are steadily moving north. Due to their popularity in the pet trade, they are frequently imported from Africa by often illegal means. Since these snakes are capable of growing to very large sizes, people soon realize they bit off more than they can chew and release them into the wild. This has resulted in a big problem in Florida where pythons and other similar species have managed to get a foothold in an environment conducive to their reproduction. It has been expected that winter temperatures have would have done the creatures in since they hail from areas near to the Equator, but instead they are thriving.
This python may have been the only dangerous snake reported in Missouri, but rest assured there are snake owners all over who do not take responsible measures with their animals. Recently a monocled cobra was on the loose in Austin, Texas and later found dead. Additionally, in an unrelated event, another monocled cobra was found in a Houston, Texas apartment building and had to be euthanized. Although incidents such as these are not common, the possibility exists that we may run into strange, unexpected things not just in the woods of Missouri but anywhere else as well.
What is the strangest thing you've encountered while hunting whitetail in Missouri? Is expecting the unexpected part of your motto? Let us know in the comments!