16-foot python 'Banana' found

Banana, a 16-foot albino Burmese python

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office received a call late on Sunday, Sept. 16, indicating there was a large snake near the roadway on Highway 365 by the entrance to Gator Country. Upon arrival, deputies and owner of Gator Country, Gary Saurage, identified the snake as Banana, the 16-foot albino Burmese python reported missing April 30, 2012. Gary Saurage said, “She appears to be in good condition.” He’s glad to have her back, he added. Banana was featured on “Gator 911” and is valued at $5,000.

When the snake went missing, Deputy Rod Carroll said there is no doubt the snake was stolen and not just lost.

“It was definitely stolen; it was locked up,” he said. “There was no way for the snake to escape. Gator Country doesn’t have a fence around it, so someone probably just parked along the road and came in and took it. It was probably two people, based on the size of the snake.”

“It’s going to be high-maintenance,” Carroll said of Banana, adding that the python wasn’t akin to rearing the average puppy. “It’s not just something you can put in a little cage in the back yard. It’s kind of like having a pony and not knowing how to take care of it.”

Anyone with information in reference to Banana is requested to contact Crimestoppers at (409) 833-TIPS. The investigation is continuing.