Three meter long python caught in a Danish river
Only two species of snakes are native to Denmark, both of them relatively small and harmless. Considering this fact, it was no wonder that angler Anders Hermansen became rather surprised when he in early May 2012 caught a three meter long python when he was fishing in a local River in Jutland, Denmark. This very unusual catch was already dead when caught. Based on the photo of the snake, it is most likely a specimen of the species Python molurus (Indian python, Asiatic rock python), which in Denmark is illegal for private persons to keep in captivity. The Python molurus is a non-venomous but very large species which can grow to become 6,5 meters long.
How did the snake get there?
There are a few theories as to how this great snake ended up dead in a river in Denmark. Most likely it has either escaped from it’s private enclosure by accident or deliberately been released into the wild. As no one has claimed the animal, this will remain a mystery.
Impact on nature
Fortunately the Danish climate is not suitable for this reptile, so in the long run it is not likely that the snake would have been able to cause great harm to native species, and the damage, the release of this snake resulted in, was hence the sad loss of the snake and a startled angler. Other places the release of Python molurus has known to cause much greater harm. In the Everglades in Florida, USA, people have released their snakes for years when they no longer wanted to keep them in captivity. Here the snakes have managed to create a very viable population and are competing with native alligators to be the dominant predators.
The incident proved useful
This incident was used by the Danish Nature Agency to remind the public about the illegality and consequences of releasing pets into the wild. Pets will more often than not, be very ill equipped to survive in the wild and will die a slow death of for example starvation and cold, and not, as many probably wish for their pets, live a “happy life” in the wild. And if it does survive, it could be the source of great disturbance to the native species within the community it is released into.
This story was used as an ambassador in providing information, awareness and advice to the Danish public on how to handle unwanted pets and help explain why it is a bad idea for both pet and nature to release pets into the wild.