October 4, 2002 at 4:53 PM EST - Updated June 29 at 10:35 PM
LANCASTER, Ohio (AP) - Two friends have adopted a 10-foot Burmese python that's been in a shelter since it escaped and ate a small animal.
The snake was found Sept. 5 in a vacant home being renovated in Powell, with a telltale bulge in its middle.
X-rays showed the remains of a small canine, which Delaware County Humane Society workers said could have been a fox or stray dog.
A man and woman from Lancaster, about 30 miles south of Columbus, recently adopted the python, saying it shouldn't be blamed for eating.
The snake had been loose about three weeks and its owner gave it up.
Misty Bay, director of Delaware County Humane Society, said the snake's actions were "completely based on survival instinct."
The society had temporarily placed the snake with a shelter specializing in exotic animals.
"There have been a lot of people contacting us wanting to know where the snake is," Bay said. "Their tone of questioning was threatening to the snake."
The couple declined to be identified because of the threats against the snake.
Burmese pythons are native to southeast Asia and can grow up to 25 feet long. The Humane Society doesn't recommend them as pets because many people can't provide the care they need, and the pet trade can decimate populations in their native habitats.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)