A 14-foot albino python is on the loose in Redding, according to pet store owner Sandra Dodge-Streich.
Dodge-Streich, owner of Redding Reptiles, said the snake escaped after she and 200 animals from her store were forced to evacuate Thursday, as the Carr Fire roared into the city’s western fringes.
Dodge-Streich said that she moved the reptiles to her own home but had to pack them up 90 minutes later when her neighborhood was evacuated. In all, Dodge-Streich moved to three different locations before settling at a fourth spot on Saturday in southeast Redding. On Sunday, she discovered the snake was gone.
Eres, a female python, is believed to have gone missing from Dandelion Drive and El Verano Street sometime before Sunday morning, but she could have traveled as far as a couple of miles away. Dodge-Streich said that Eres would have escaped during the night when it was cool and dark, and not at a time that humans were around and watching over the evacuated animals.
Eres was strong enough to lift the lid of the tub she was in, Dodge-Streich said, which had two other tubs with snakes in them on top.
Dodge-Streich said that Eres is “not a harm to anybody” and is probably hiding somewhere shaded, like underneath the deck of a house. She also said that Eres is not a small snake and if she was in someone’s yard, she would be hard to miss.
She believes that Eres will stay in her hiding spot until it starts to get dark.
Redding residents with small animals shouldn’t worry – Dodge-Streich said that Eres is a gentle creature, and would only attack if she was in a compromising situation.
“She’s a picky eater, and she’s not going to go after anything unless she feels threatened,” she said. “She only really likes chicken.”
The rest of the rescued reptiles are accounted for and safe, Dodge-Streich said. Redding Reptile’s home was untouched by fire but remains under evacuation orders.
If Eres is found, Dodge-Streich said to call her immediately so she can arrange a pickup. She encouraged residents not to try to catch Eres themselves. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and its animal regulation unit have been made aware of the situation and can respond as well, she said.