PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Florida residents concerned about their missing cats received grim news Friday, when Port St. Lucie police discovered a 12-foot python near the body of a dead cat.
Just before 7:30 Friday morning, Sgt. John Holman found a dead cat in an empty parking lot after a complaint from a resident. Holman searched the area, eventually discovering the 120-pound Burmese python in high brush near a cat's remains.
Holman called for backup, and it took at least four officers to restrain the animal. The python was owned by a local resident -- a crime in the state of Florida. The snake was confiscated from its owner and will be placed with a breeder licensed by the Florida Wildlife Commission.
Pythons are considered an invasive species in Florida, where they are actively eating away the Everglades natural mammal population. Researchers believe years of irresponsible pet owners releasing snakes into the wild led to the surge in the local python population.
It is currently illegal to own or sell pythons as pets in Florida, and federal law prohibits interstate sale and importation of the snakes.