Python caught in Everglades had blood-sucking tick filling its eye socket. See photos


It takes a lot to give professional snake wranglers the creeps, but it happened when a group of hunters captured a python plagued by blood-sucking ticks in Florida’s Everglades.

If there’s such a thing as a zombie snake, they found it: Half blind, starting to rot, but still dangerous.

“One of the gnarliest things I’ve seen, this python we caught had a tick over where it’s eye should be,” wildlife adventure tour guide Chris Gillette wrote in a March 21 Facebook post.

“We caught six pythons this day, but this one just gave me the heebie-jeebies with the ticks!! Most the pythons we got that day had ticks, one had easily over twenty on it. Just an area full of them.”

Wildlife adventure guide Chris Gillette reports he came across this python with a tick feeding in its eye socket while in Florida’s Everglades.Wildlife adventure guide Chris Gillette reports he came across this python with a tick feeding in its eye socket while in Florida’s Everglades.

Wildlife adventure guide Chris Gillette reports he came across this python with a tick feeding in its eye socket while in Florida’s Everglades.

The date and exact location were not revealed. But Gillette reports “most” of the six pythons had damage to their skin and scales from ticks.

“I think this python likely lost its eye from ticks, but not likely the one in place, based off (the tick’s) size,” he wrote.

“Not much creeps me out but parasites definitely do!”

Gillette added that native snakes he finds in the Everglades don’t seem to be as susceptible to ticks as pythons.

The size of the afflicted snake and its fate were not revealed. Invasive pythons caught in Florida are typically “humanely euthanized,” unless trapped for research purposes by state-approved agencies.

Gillette’s posts had more than 10,000 reactions and comments as of March 25, with some commenters noting they felt sorry for the snake.

”That’s the type of punishment or situation that I don’t wish even on my worst enemies. That’s horrifying,” one person wrote on Instagram.

“I know the (pythons) were put down, and for that one, it’s a merciful thing compared to death by ticks. That’s freaking creepy,” another posted.

“How would you like to be one of the most feared, deadly predators and you lose your eye to a stupid tick,” a third wrote.

Burmese pythons are believed to have been introduced to Florida via the exotic pet trade, with some escaping into the wild and others being set free by irresponsible pet owners, experts say.

Research shows the snakes prey on dozens of native species in the Everglades, including larger animals like deer and alligators.

Pythons are blamed for introducing the parasite Raillietiella orientalis to Florida’s wildlife, according to the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. The parasite, resembling a worm, “infects the respiratory system, causing lung inflammation and breathing difficulties,” the institute says.

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