For nearly two months now, the people of Poland have been captivated by the tale of a missing 16-foot python that is believed to be slithering around Warsaw still.
As the Wall Street Journal writers deftly summed it up, "Poland has been transfixed over finding a giant python on the loose, using drones, choppers and a sniffer dog called Cocaine."
The missing snake has a name (Bertha) and none of the high-profile search efforts have turned her up. However, they did find three other "exotic snakes slithering through town," which makes you wonder what the deal is with Poland and exotic snakes.
Here is a rough translation of the original Facebook post from the animal rescue group, from Polish to English:
On 07/07/2018, the Animal Rescue Poland Animal Protection and Rescue Service received a notification about finding an escaped snake. 2 meters long. The patrol went to the indicated place on the Vistula at the height of Gassy and Cieciszew. The indicated moult was found on the site, and after a more detailed search of the area, the second part was found in tall grass. Measured molt had a length of 5.30 meters without head and a circumference of about 50 cm. The expert described it as the moult of adult Python Tigris. The molt is fresh, so the snake is hungry and can be aggressive. The Animal Protection and Emergency Service informed the local services and the Poviat Crisis Management Center. It is possible that this is a mindless joke of the snakes' breeder, who has dropped the moult of his pet on the bank of the Vistula. Until this scenario is confirmed, we assume that the threat is real and we make daily attempts to find a snake. Our intervention vehicle is not suitable for areas as difficult as the banks of the Vistula, therefore yesterday, the "Szarak" hunting club had to come to our aid and pull out our buried car, for which we thank you very much. We ask everyone to refrain from walking and sleeping in the open air in this area, and please watch the area closely. At risk of attack are mainly children and pets. All people who come across a snake, its moult or have information about the origin of molt are asked to contact us at 223506691 or 792112 222. If a person comes up and admits to planting the moult, we guarantee no consequences at this stage of the search. After engaging in the search of other services, the situation will change.
Here's an update from National Public Radio:
But the news has been bubbling quietly for nearly two months. The story begins in early July, when a massive snakeskin, shed by an Indian python, was found south of the capital, as Radio Poland reported at the time. Residents were warned to avoid taking walks near the banks of the Vistula river, with special caution for children and pets that might make for python-size snacks.
The situation prompted this headline on the website Poland in English: "Writhing terror — the hunt continues."
Firefighters used drones and boats to hunt for the out-of-place creature, as Radio Poland wrote in an update a week later. Still no sign of it.
Scores of volunteers helped take thousands of photographs of the riverbanks, which they passed on to wildlife experts in the hopes of spotting the python, which was believed to be sluggish and extremely well-camouflaged, The Telegraph reported.
Then there was the problem of the river — pythons are good swimmers. It could have traveled 100 km, more than 62 miles, a zoo director told local television, according to The Telegraph.