Snake! What happened? Snake! Snaaaaaaaaaaake!

In the evening of 6 May, a man in Totsuka Ward, Yokohama City, came home from work but noticed something was amiss. It didn’t take him long to realize what it was and called the police to report that his 3.5-meter (12-foot), 13 kilogram (29-pound) reticulated python had escaped from its vivarium.

To make matters worse, the owner had left his window open a crack while he was gone, giving one of the world’s largest breeds of snake ample opportunity to escape. Although this species is not venomous, it still has a powerful constricting ability capable of killing animals and people, so finding it was a priority.

▼ News report on the missing snake

The police and fire department worked together to find the animal, first scanning the building with an infrared camera. From there they began checking sewers and other crevices with fiber optic cameras, and searching the mountainous brush behind the building, where the snake might have taken refuge in.

▼ Despite being coldblooded, snakes still have enough body heat to appear on thermal cameras

A week since its escape, the python is still yet to be found. These animals are excellent hiders and seldom need to come out to feed. They are also strong swimmers and could cover a fair bit of distance by river if desired. So, with no sign of the animal and little prospects of finding it, the authorities announced they would likely give up the search on 14 May.

As luck would have it, another sector has stepped in to boost efforts in finding the dangerous creature: YouTubers!

▼ Video is cued ahead to the actual snake-hunting

Locals have reported an influx of social media content producers in the area, all out to make some Internet gold with a sighting of the elusive pet. Some armed with 100-yen insect nets, these makeshift Steve Irwins have been spotted snooping around the mountains and riverside.

Online comments expressed reservations that a YouTuber could actually find the snake, but there was appreciation for their efforts.

“If they don’t have anything better to do, why not? The more manpower, the better.”
“YouTubers are really pro-active, I’ll give them that.”
“Some pro hunter probably already poached it so they could sell it or eat it or something.”
“Let it be. It’ll probably eat all the rats and clean up the neighborhood a bit.”
“If one of them gets eaten alive on camera, think of the views!”
“Can the police really just give up the search like that?”
“The owner better be out there looking too. This is all his fault after all.”
“First the snake, now these residents have to put up with reporters and YouTubers.”

Considering the ample time that has already passed, the snake could have covered a lot of ground at this point, and authorities can’t stretch their limited resources forever. So it’s not unreasonable for them to give up at some point.

But in the highly likely event that the YouTubers also cannot find the reptile, it’s probably worth keeping in mind that a giant python capable of killing a person is probably still out there somewhere in the Yokohama area, so keep your windows shut, toilet lids closed, and Shinkansen seats carefully examined.

Source: Tokyo Sports, Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/金バエチャンネル
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