Metro, Top Story, Newton

Update: Python on the Loose in Newton

A Burmese Python is on the loose in Newton, according to the Newton Police. The black-and-gold snake, which is six to eight feet long, left a backyard on Jewett Street at 5 p.m. on Aug. 20.

The snake tends to remain outside when it is warm, but typically tries to move inside when it gets cooler, the message said. It also cautioned against approaching the snake even though it has been living with a family. 

This species of snake is popular for animal owners, according to National Geographic, as they are usually docile and have a “beautiful” skin pattern. They are not venomous, but they are constrictors, meaning they coil around their prey.

The neighbors near the house notified each other of the missing snake via a community email. Some had no idea that their neighbors owned a python until they learned that it was missing. 

“I had no idea,” Julie Goulding, a resident of Jewett Street, said of the snake living around the corner from her. “No less one of that magnitude.”

The owner, identified as Jack Galvin by the Boston Globe, was not available for comment. 

Goulding isn’t worried because she was told that the snake, Lightning, was fed shortly before he escaped. Others in the neighborhood, especially parents of young children, don’t feel the same, Goulding said.

“Usually on Saturday afternoon the neighborhood is full of joyous kids, but today it’s not,” she said.

Pauline Moody, a 92-year-old who has lived on Jewett Street for 50 years, keeps a look out for Lightning from her front porch where she crochets. Moody isn’t satisfied with the number of people looking for the snake.

“They shouldn’t allow people to have these things,” Moody said.

Some of the neighbors have organized a search party that intends to look for Lightning tonight at dusk, when they suspect he will be moving to find warmth as it gets cooler out. If they find him they won’t approach. Instead they’ll call his owner, Goulding said.

John Truslow plans on joining the search for Lightning. The rising senior at Newton North High School was out riding his bike with friends when his mom texted him to check his email. He saw the neighborhood notification for the missing snake and went out the next day to look for Lightning. Truslow isn’t nervous for his own safety, he said, but is nervous for the children and small dogs and cats that live in the area.

“I think [the snake is] in the carriage house that’s 100 feet from its house,” said Truslow. 

The house has been empty for more than 10 years, he said. He plans to look inside when the group goes out for the search. 

Moody will not be joining the search.

“I’m nervous about going in my backyard,” she said.

This story has been updated.

Jack Miller contributed reporting.

Featured Image by Andy Mitchell / Wikimedia Commons

August 23, 2019