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James Geist's backyard a hot spot for pythons

10:22 AM, Aug 3, 2012   |    comments
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(WNBC) -- Summer vacation has been anything but routine for a New York City social studies teacher who lives in northern New Jersey.

James Geist has spotted pythons twice within days in his West Milford yard.

Geist was reading on his deck when he thought he saw a branch move on July 23.

He soon realized it was a snake.

"I freaked out and called up the West Milford police," said Geist.

Police arrived with two snake handlers who told Geist the branch was a 15-foot albino python.

Geist said the snake was huge, thick and docile.

"They were concerned about black bears," he said of the responding officers. "I would rather run into a black bear than a python."

Four days later, Geist saw another snake.

This time it was a 10-foot python.

It had slithered into the yard and was resting near a lawn chair.

Animal control believes the tropical snakes were released by someone who had moved from the neighborhood.

It is not illegal to own a python in the state of New Jersey, but owners must own an exotic pet permit.

Police estimate the two pythons found in Geist's yard were worth more than $10,000 together.


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