BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Workers cooking burgers and tater tots in a Sonic fast-food kitchen fled after discovering an intruder hiding behind the deep fryer.
Brunswick police Lt. Matthew Wilson found employees of the Sonic drive-in huddled in the parking lot when he arrived to investigate last Saturday. On the phone they had described the culprit as brown with diamonds on its back.
“When I saw it, I could tell it was just a ball python and not a rattlesnake,” Wilson told The Brunswick News.
He not only removed the large, non-venomous snake, but also found it a new home with a friend who has a large terrarium and a fondness for snakes.
Wilson says the python likely slipped into the Sonic's kitchen on May 21 through an open back door, finding a cozy spot for its cold-blooded body behind the hot fryer.
Police don't know where the snake came from, though Wilson says it had likely been a pet that got turned loose by its owner.
Eammon Leonard agreed. He's an invasive species biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Leonard said snakes are often an impulse buy and owners find themselves having second thoughts as their scaly pets grow larger.
“It could be somebody just didn’t think through the consequences of a large snake as a pet,” Leonard said. “Some people have regrets later on and just release things. It is definitely irresponsible.”