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14-foot Burmese python named 'Vine' escapes from Beech Grove home

Posted: 4:41 PM, May 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-23 06:50:16-04
A 14-foot Python is on the loose in Beech Grove

BEECH GROVE, Ind. -- A 14-foot Burmese python on the loose in Beech Grove has neighbors on edge, but the owner says the snake, named Vine, is just a big baby. 

Benny Tarplee says the Vine escaped from his home in the 400 block of Byland Drive sometime in the past few days when his friend forgot to lock the cage.

"She's not gonna hurt you, she's a big sweetheart," Tarplee said. "She cannot live here you don't have to worry about her creating a population. There's no way that she can possibly breed, she will be found."

Burmese pythons are one of the largest snakes on earth. They are non-venomous and native to the woodlands, grasslands, swamps and marshes of Southeast Asia but often the choice pet of reptile owners in the U.S. because of their docile nature. 

When Tarplee contacted police on Tuesday they sent an alert out to the public, advising anyone who spotted the snake to call 911. That alert put neighbors on edge. 

"I would feel better if maybe, you know, animal control, police somebody was kind of combing the area," said Laura Schroeder who lives near Tarplee. "We have two small chihuahuas, should I not let them be outside right now?"

Tarplee says Vine will probably stay clear of people and will look for water and forested areas to stay hidden - until she eventually needs to hunt for food. 

"She's gonna most likely try to find a place where she's isolated where she can hunt small mammals, squirrels, rabbits, things like that," said Tarplee.

A report from the University of Florida found that some Burmese pythons can travel nearly 50 miles in a few months time. 

Tarplee says Vine could be anywhere by now. 

"Primarily what I'm looking at - I have a radius - I'm searching out here every day looking for her," said Tarplee. "She's primarily gonna hunt at night."

If you spot Vine, do not attempt to catch her. Call the Beech Grove Police Department or 911. 

Even though it's serious to Tarplee, somebody made a Twitter account for "The Beech Grove Python. As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, it has nearly 250 followers. 

The python even taunted Indianapolis police, saying, "Try putting me in cuffs @IMPDnews lolsssssssss."

IMPD responded with aplomb. 

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