MANILA, Philippines – Commuters in the Philippine capital got a shock when they found an unwelcome passenger on their minibus — a 2.1-meter (7-foot) -long python.
The discovery Thursday sent passengers running and snarled traffic on a busy road in the Manila suburb of Quezon City, police said Friday.
The python had wrapped itself around the steel suspension bars under a “jeepney,” a minibus unique to the Philippines, that had traveled into the capital from a nearby province, traffic police Inspector Erlito Renegin said.
Passengers scampered to safety after the snake crawled out from under the jeepney during a stop and onto the road, Renegin told The Associated Press. Other cars tried to avoid hitting it, he said.
Renegin said he worked with traffic enforcers and bystanders to wrestle the snake and put it into a sack. Dante Santiago, a snake handler from the government’s Wildlife Rescue Center, picked up the python from a police station.
Santiago said the snake appeared tame and, despite being handled many times, lunged at him only once, indicating it was familiar with people and could have been a pet that escaped.
He said the python looked healthy, but he could not immediately tell its age.
Stephen Toledo, resident veterinarian at the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, said the snake would be returned to its owners if they could prove ownership and that it was not captured from the wild. Otherwise, he said the agency would keep the python and may eventually release it in the wild.