Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Pythons and lovebirds, oh yuck!
A Mapleton resident got quite a surprise on the way to his workshop recently - one you might even call a cold-blooded greeting.Harold Whiting, 1465 W. 800 North, was in the process of entering his garage/workshop Oct. 1, when he almost stepped on a 5-foot reticulated python.
After "almost stopping my jump in midair and almost stepping in the middle of it," Whiting said, he quickly shut the door joining his house and workshop to calm himself.
"I've lived in this area all my life, and I can recognize rattlesnakes and others like that, but this one I didn't recognize. Besides, it was big."
The snake apparently crawled through underground conduits beneath Whiting's workshop floor. Hoping for a quick end to the situation, he contacted the Mapleton Police Department, who informed him that their animal control officer doesn't handle snakes or skunks. However, the dispatcher suggested that Whiting get in touch with the State Division of Wildlife Resources.
After describing the snake to Wildlife Resources, Whiting was told by officials there, "Wow, that's big! I don't know if there's anything we can do." Whiting's response was, "Well, I've got a big shovel," which he said finally got a reaction.
While they waited for the Wildlife Resources man to arrive, Whiting and his wife discovered another surprise - a lovebird located a long way from Lover's Lane.
"My wife came and got me while I was waiting and told me she thought we had a parrot or another exotic bird up in one of our trees," he said. "She said she heard a beautiful song and couldn't quite place it."
A photographer from a local newspaper whom Whiting had called identified it as a lovebird, and the three attempted to retrieve the bird from its lofty perch.
However, the strategy nearly backfired when the Whitings' cat almost gobbled the bird. After quickly retrieving the lovebird from the cat's clutches, the photographer said he would take it off their hands.
"It was a beautiful bird, but we told him we didn't really want either a bird or a snake, and that took care of one of our problems anyway," Whiting said.
Whiting coaxed the snake into a large platic trash can and covered it with a lid. When officials from Wildlife Resources arrived, they notified Whiting that he could either keep the snake or they could take the animal to a shelter.
Someone suggested that, since Springville High School already had a similar snake, the school could probably take care of the animal, and he was right. Biology teacher Sterling Wadley gave it a home.
No one is sure where the snake and lovebird came from. They perhaps were pets gone astray.