not the actual Burmese python
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/...tory?track=rssAn animal trapper this week was charged with crimes after staging a "public hoax" with a 14-foot-long Burmese python in the Tampa Bay area this summer, state officials said today.
Officials say Justin Matthews of Bradenton bought the snake from a reptile dealer in Tampa a month before he set it loose in a drainage pipe. Then he called the media and claimed he captured a large snake from a draingage pipe that had been threatening school children.
Matthews later admitted that he released the snake "and had staged the event to call attention to a growing problem of irresponsible pet ownership," according to a statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"However, the release of the snake in the wild and a subsequent call to 911 to request emergency help have Matthews in trouble with the law for the very reason he says he sought publicity,'' the statement said.
Matthews was arrested Wednesday. He was charged with a third-degree felony for allegedly "misusing a 911 emergency system" and a second-degree misdemeanor for maintaining "captive wildlife in an unsafe manner - resulting in threats to the public's safety."