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Burmese python captured at Waukegan lakefront

A Waukegan Animal Control officer handles 12-15 foot Burmese pyththwas found SeHorse Drive ClaytStreet Monday morning. | Special Sun-Times Media

A Waukegan Animal Control officer handles a 12-15 foot Burmese python that was found at Sea Horse Drive and Clayton Street on Monday morning. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 19, 2012 6:17AM

WAUKEGAN — A lakefront landscaper got more than he signed up for Monday when his work outside a Sea Horse Drive business produced a most unexpected discovery: A 12- to 15-foot Burmese python.

No one was injured during the encounter with the pale-yellow, possibly albino snake, which was uncovered around 10 a.m. near Sea Horse Drive and Clayton Street by an employee of a nearby business trimming bushes. The spot where the snake was in hiding sits across Sea Horse Drive from Waukegan Municipal Beach.

According to Lt. Edward Fitzgerald of the Waukegan Police Department, the snake was taken into custody without incident by animal control officers called to the scene.

“It was a little lethargic, because it’s been cold out and they’re cold-blooded. It wasn’t aggressive at all,” said Fitzgerald, though he added that the snake “kind of livened up a little bit” after a trip inside a van to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest.

Fitzgerald said officials at the Discovery Center reported that the snake needed treatment for an unspecified illness but was otherwise in good shape.

As for how the member of a species native to Southeast Asia ended up on the shore of Lake Michigan, Fitzgerald said the snake appears to have been a reject, adding that police hadn’t fielded any reports about a missing python.

“It most likely that somebody dumped it,” he said. “There’s obviously no residences down there, so it probably didn’t crawl away from someone.” Wherever the snake came from, Fitzgerald said it was one for the local record books.

“It’s probably the biggest snake we’ve ever caught,” he said. “I would say it was around 12 to 15 feet, and it took two or three of our people to catch it.”

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