Police, reptile experts identify massive snake spotted slithering through Pittsburgh park

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Animal Care & Control was notified by a park user Thursday of a large snake spotted on a Frick Park trail.

Animal Care & Control officers, along with Pittsburgh Park Rangers, were busy searching the area where the snake was possibly last seen. Zone 4 police officers were also on the lookout.

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After consulting with reptile specialists at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, officials determined that was a Black Rat Snake. Reptile Curator Henry Kacparzyk explained that this slithery creature is pretty common to the area.

“It’s the largest species you’ll find here in PA,” Kacparzyk described. “They’re a fairly common snake and given the wildlife, you might find in a park, the common name rat snake indicates it eats mammals of some.”

He went on to say that although it is not dangerous to humans, you probably shouldn’t try to become best friends with the snake.

“I think the uniqueness is the size of the snake, and meandering up the tree makes it that much more of an effect of the length and size when you see it up against the sky,” Kacparzyk explained. “The common-sense approach is to look at it from a distance, take a picture, but no reason to get close enough to startle the snake or handle it.”

Public Safety issued a warning to the public, that if you come across a large snake you are not familiar with, to stay way and immediately notify police. Additionally, they stated that if they find the snake, they will likely move it to a safer habitat. One where it would not be near as many people.

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