Two snakes outgrow Vermont, move to Massachusetts Mack Ralbovsky, left, of the Rainforest Reptile Shows, gets assistance from Vermont game wardens Tim Carey, center, and Wes Butler as they remove a reticulated python, between 17 and 18 feet long, from the home of Pat Howard Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in North Clarendon, Vt. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)
Two snakes outgrow Vermont, move to Massachusetts
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Two giant Southeast Asian pythons that were rescued by a snake collector and were turned over to Vermont game wardens are headed to a sanctuary.
 
The larger of the two reticulated pythons picked up Aug. 25 by experts from the Massachusetts-based Rainforest Reptile Shows with help from three Vermont game wardens was a female between 17 and 18 feet long, weighing about 220 pounds. A slightly smaller male was about 15 feet long and weighed about 150 pounds.
 
The snake collector, Pat Howard, said after the snakes had been loaded into plastic tubs for their trip to Massachusetts that he was "smart enough to realize that snake is bigger than I can safely take care of."
 
"Come feeding time is the most dangerous time to be around a snake," said Howard, who has kept snakes for decades and has almost two dozen smaller snakes in his North Clarendon, Vermont home. "That's when anything goes, and you certainly want to be out of the way. A snake that size got ahold of you, if you didn't have any help with you, you're a goner."
 
The reticulated python, named for the geometric patterns on its skin, is one of the largest snake species in the world. It can reach almost 30 feet long and weigh 350 pounds.
 
Howard, who does educational programs with some of his snakes and sets up a booth at the Vermont State Fair in Rutland, said he got the pythons just days earlier from a New York man who couldn't keep them. He called the bigger one "humongous." He knew he didn't have the permits to keep them so he called state game wardens.
 
Howard said many species of exotic snakes can be bought inexpensively when they are small. People frequently call him when they can no longer take care of them.
 
Vermont Game Warden Chad Barrett, who handles exotic wildlife, said the two pythons were probably the biggest exotic snakes his agency has had to deal with. He praised Howard for promptly turning the giant snakes over to the proper authorities.
 
"This one went very smoothly," he said.
 
The Rainforest Reptile Shows, based in Beverly, Massachusetts, does educational and entertainment programs with snakes and other reptiles. It also will take homeless snakes, said Rainforest snake expert Mack Ralbovsky, who drove to Vermont with co-worker EmmaLee Eng to take the snakes back to Massachusetts.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How is Pat Howard smart about snakes?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (14)
  • colins-1-kol
    9/14/2015 - 05:27 p.m.

    Wow! Those are two big snakes. I can't imagine taking care of those. I can't believe both of those Southeast Asian Snake are between 15-18 feet long. This article was really interesting!

  • richard-hab
    9/15/2015 - 11:19 a.m.

    The man in the article was very smart by turning over the snakes. Because the consequences could be very harsh if he was caught without a permit. Also he did a good thing for the snakes too because he knew he could'nt take care of them.

  • lukee-kol
    9/15/2015 - 12:51 p.m.

    Pat Howard is smart with snakes because he used his liscence so it was legal for him to handle them and when they became too big for him he gave them to the authorities so they could be in a proper place to keep snakes that large and long.

  • jakobw-kol
    9/15/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    Pat knows so much about snakes because he's been around them for at least a good decade and has handled them for years on end.

  • ryans-1-kol
    9/15/2015 - 01:07 p.m.

    Pat Howard is smart about snakes because it says in the text he does a educational program. Another reason is it says in the text that he is a snake collector.

  • baylees-day
    9/17/2015 - 08:43 p.m.

    Personally, I love snakes. I had two corn snakes when I was younger but Pythons are a whole different story. I think these reptiles are amazing, from their size to anatomy to even there predator instincts, they are master camouflagers and once they get to this size ( 18 feet long) they can pretty much eat just about anything. I happy that they moved the snakes when needed to a more capable sanctuary, it protects both those around them and the snakes themselves.

  • yasht-kol
    9/17/2015 - 08:49 p.m.

    He realized that the snakes grew too long

  • taylorh-kol
    9/20/2015 - 03:49 p.m.

    Pat Howard is smart about snakes because Pat knows how to handle snakes. The text says that Pat does educational programs with his snakes. Pat has also kept snakes for decades and has about two dozen smaller snakes at his home.

  • smithd-rei
    9/21/2015 - 04:02 p.m.

    I think he is smart because he knows to always have help around snakes and to stay away during feeding time . I think these are the two most important things.

  • raymondw-day
    10/01/2015 - 09:09 a.m.

    Two snakes were rescued from Massachusetts on August 25, both Southeastern Asian Pythons both over 15 feet long and over 150 pounds. In my opinion I'm glad he called professionals to take care of the snakes instead of just releasing them into the wild as some people have been doing. I couldn't imagine seeing a 150 pound snake in my backyard.

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