2 pythons seized from Lakeland home

September 11th, 2009 by

LAKELAND, FL — Mike Hall’s emotions run from furious to distraught, since his 2 pet snakes, including a 200 pound python named Xena, were taken from his Lakeland home.

He says they were like members of his family.

“I’ve had them for 15 years man, they’re like my babies,” Hall said, “He’ll come straight to me, all I gotta do is open the door and he’ll come straight to me!”

Florida Fish and Wildlife investigators seized the two snakes, including Xena, a female Burmese python who was 16-feet-long, and an 11-foot male Burmese python.

An anonymous tip led investigators to Hall, who did not have the required state permit to house the animals.

Hunting, capturing and killing non-native snakes has become a big focus for Fish and Wildlife officers in recent months, ever since a 9-foot python strangled a 2-year-old to death in Sumter County, in a home where it was kept illegally as a pet.

Hall, 37, claims his own toddler was never allowed near his snakes. While he admits he didn’t have the proper permits, Hall says he now just wants a chance to make it right.

“If it was a regular person with a dog, there’d be a big issue about it,” Hall added, “But just cause its a snake – people don’t like snakes – but I’m one of the ones that do!”

Hall was charged with 2nd-degree misdemeanors for not having the required permit and not having a critical-incident plan. He also received a warning for not having the animals microchipped.

The snakes have been taken to a licensed facility.

Jail records show Hall is a convicted felon, who has been arrested numerous times, including a 2008 arrest for illegally possessing a firearm.

To report wildlife law violations, call the toll-free Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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