Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A Florida man who was told by a neighbor that a large snake was floating near his dock was shocked to discover a 12-foot reticulated python.
Joe Volpe said a neighbor told him Tuesday morning that a snake was floating hear his dock in Siesta Key and he assumed the witness was exaggerating, but he went to investigate and discovered a massive serpent floating belly-up in the water.
"I watched him for about 15 minutes and no real movement. I got the pole from the pool and pulled him out of the water and laid him out here on the stones," Volpe told WFTS-TV.
Volpe used a pole to lift the 80-pound snake, which he discovered was still alive, onto dry land.
"[It could] easily kill a child, no problem, kill a human being at that size," Volpe told WFLA-TV. "[I wasn't scared] because he wasn't moving. If he had been active, it would've been a different story, I would've gotten my gun and shot him."
Volpe stashed the nearly 13-foot python in a trash can and summoned Justin Matthews with Matthews Wildlife Rescue in Bradenton to his home.
Matthews confirmed the reticulated python, while non-venomous, could pose a danger to the public.
"A python like this could eat an incredibly large animal like a full-grown raccoon, no problem, a dog, medium size dog, no problem," he said.
Matthews, who took the snake to Bayshore Animal Hospital, said the python was likely an abandoned pet.
"He's not in great condition. He has an injury to his head and he hasn't been eating well because he's thin for a 12-foot python," Matthews said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said a criminal investigation has been opened into how the snake ended up on Volpe's property.