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Richwood, W.Va. – An 11-foot python that was on the loose in West Virginia was found Tuesday, about a month after it got out of its tank, broke through a window screen and slithered outside.

Richwood Police Chief Charles Burkhamer says a letter carrier saw the snake laying out in the sun next to a roadway Tuesday, about a block away from where it escaped a month ago.

Authorities had been scouring the area trying to find the reptile and Richwood residents had been notified to keep watch over small children and house pets.

Burkhamer said he faced a practical question as he looked at the massive snake on the side of the road.

“What am I going to do with it?” he wondered. “We didn’t have a dog crate big enough.”

So Burkhamer stuck the snake in a trash can for safe keeping until it could be returned to its owner, who said the python was a bit skinnier than it had been before it got out.

The owner has been asked to register the animal with state officials and reinforce the reptile’s tank so it doesn’t break free again.

A 15-foot-python that escaped in Morgantown in May still has not been found. In that case, the snake escaped from its owner’s truck and made its way into the woods. The 19-year-old owner has been charged with allowing an animal to run at large.

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