REDDING, California — Add a 14-foot python to all the disruptions being caused by the wildfire roaring in Northern California.
Sandra Dodge-Streich's 14-foot python got loose from a plastic bin being kept at a home in south Redding at about 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. Saturday, she said.
Dodge-Streich owns Redding Reptiles, which was evacuated from its store Thursday night, when the fire got to Redding. The store moved its snakes, geckos, bearded dragons, tortoises to Tortoise Acres in south Redding. But then they had to evacuate from there with their 130 reptiles, she said.
Since the deadly blaze, known as the Carr Fire, broke out, they've moved four times.
They were keeping Eres the python in a 2-foot-by-4-foot plastic tub, but she got out. The snake probably won't go far, Dodge-Streich said.
Tey scouted the area but had no luck, so they took to social media to let people know their beloved pet python was on the loose and may be hanging out in their yards, she said.
Eres is a lavender albino reticulated python and about three inches in girth. Reticulated pythons are strong, Dodge-Streich said, and can scale fences.
But in Eres’ case, she might be looking for a place that’s dark, cool and damp, like a pool, or crevice under a deck. She might even be under a tarp.
“She’s beautiful. She’s not harmful,” Dodge-Streich said. "She’s not a big snake, she’s a long snake."
All of the nearby homeowners have been alerted to the snake on the loose, and Dodge-Streich wenton Facebook to ask people to call her if they see a python with a bright yellow head and white markings.
"I think she might still be in the area. People with small pets should keep them indoors," Dodge-Streich said.
She added small cats and dogs that get too close might be in a bit of danger, but Eres really only has an appetite for chickens.
Susan Walker, who lives near where the snake went missing, said she saw the seriousness of the situation and the humor.
Walker said her mother-in-law was quite alarmed when she heard about the python and made sure her Chihuahua-mix dog was safely in the house.
"It's actually quite comical, because she has a perfect snack-sized dog," Walker said.
She doesn't think the snake will cross the road to their house, and instead will hunker down in a cool place to escape the heat.
Marilyn Walker, Susan Walker's mother-in-law, said she didn't believe the story of the loose snake at first, thinking it was fake news. She has since learned it isn't.
"I don't want to see anything happen to the snake, but on the other hand I don't want to come face-to-face with it," Marilyn Walker said.
Susan Walker said she called her husband and told him about the snake. He suggested she catch it and put it under the house so it could catch rats and mice.
But Walker wasn't having anything to do with that.
"I told him 'No way. That thing is 14-feet long!'" she said.
So if area residents see a 14-foot yellow python slithering through a backyard, chances are the snake has lost her home.
“She’s more in danger of somebody trying to hurt her,” Dodge-Streich said.