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Ray Williams displays the snake.
Ray Williams displays the snake. / Special to the Sun Times
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Williams stretches the snake out to its full 8'4". / Special to the Sun Times
It may be a pretty snake, but it's effects on the Everglades eco-system are said to be potentiall devastating. / Special to the Sun Times

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Driving along Collier Boulevard near Physicians Regional Hospital, Ray Williams saw what he thought was a snake in the road.

It was indeed a snake. A big one, and it was later identified as an 8-feet, 4-inch Burmese python.

Williams, who had just finished a voluntary stint on the beach checking turtle nests with Marco’ “Turtle Lady,” Mary Nelson, said his first instinct was to get the reptile out of the way so it wouldn’t distract passing motorists.

“I thought it could cause a problem,” Williams said this week. “I figured people might dodge it to miss it, and that could wreck cars and even kill people.”

Williams parked in the hospital lot, and walked back to the snake, which at that stage he didn’t realize was a non-native Burmese python, and scourge of the Everglades eco-system.

He couldn’t tell if it was dead, which later proved to be the case. He called 911 and also the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

On arrival, he said, the police officer was amazed at the snake’s size. The two men then picked up the snake and posed with it for size perspective.

The FWC officer confirmed what the snake was, and said it would be taken to a lab for skinning to reveal whether or not it had a chip implant.

“I said I already had an order for a pair of shoes and a purse from one of my friends,” Williams said with a laugh.

“Then I said, ‘if you’re having the snake for dinner, I’m coming to taste this sucker,’ ” Williams said. “I had an interesting hour and a half on the beach, and an interesting hour and a half after coming off the beach.”

He said the FWC had promised to contact him with the chip outcome.

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