Missing 15-foot python named "Big Mama" safely found and returned to Chatsworth family
A family in Chatsworth in suburban Los Angeles is elated over the return of their beloved 15-foot python named "Big Mama," who went missing more than a week ago.
According to the Villalta family, the python was found in the backyard of one of their neighbors Wednesday. She was unharmed and was set to receive a bath after exploring the wild for the last week.
The Villaltas say they've owned Big Mama for two years, spoiling her with two separate habitats -- an outdoor enclosure and an indoor pen that's both temperature- and humidity-controlled to ensure her comfort.
On top of her astounding length, Big Mama is 8-inches in diameter and is a beloved part of the neighborhood.
"She's an animal that has been used during parties to showcase and to educate people on reptiles," says Big Mama owner Alex Villalta, who notes that she's not poisonous or aggressive, and indeed is rather friendly.
When they checked her cage the morning of July 4, the Villaltas noticed that the door was ajar and she was nowhere to be seen.
"That's when I knew something was wrong," Villalta said.
The family says that they had initially checked the area where Big Mama was found and they believe that she probably slithered over the wall of the neighbor's yard sometime between then and when she was located Wednesday.
The day prior she disappeared, Big Mama was fed a large frozen rabbit so, experts said, it was very unlikely she'd prey on any other neighborhood animals while she was at large.
Instead, they believe she was probably taking advantage of the warm weather.
"Snakes definitely sunbathe," said Connor Merkovich, a local snake rescuer with All Star Animal Trapping. "They're cold-blooded, so they need to warm up and basically just sit out in the sun under a nice rock or some debris that they can keep shelter in."
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