The creature was quiet, moving in the night through the neighborhood toward a dark, private spot.
A woman discovered it around 1 a.m. under her porch in East Atlanta Village, the hipster haven off I-20 where tattooed, bearded denizens walk Float Shoals Road to The Midway Pub, past old men puffing outside the cigar bar.
The woman, Jessica Breese, took her dogs inside to be safe. Careful to keep her distance, she snapped a photo with her cellphone. The next day, she posted it on the Nextdoor social networking app for neighbors.
The photo showed a python. Breese didn't know it, but she'd found a neighbor's pet.
In the weeks since, the snake, which reportedly measures more than 11 feet long, has been captured and gotten loose again. It was most recently found and collected Wednesday night, but the situation might live in local legend for a while.
Curt Hagemeier, Breese’s fiancée, said it’s somewhat divided the normally convivial area.
“It got real out of control,” he said. “Everybody was getting on each other’s nerves.”
The snake is a reticulated python, a species which is among the world’s heaviest. The nonvenomous constrictors are generally not considered dangerous to humans, but do kill animals.
Hagemeier said a search party got together, knocking on doors and peeking in backyards. They toted a trashcan to carry the snake once they found him.
Some residents threatened to take a shovel to the creature’s head and hoped to get the owner’s up on a stick, Hagemeier said. Others were more forgiving of the owner, whom most only know as “Alex,” and cried out in defense of the snake.
That’s his name. Monty. The python.
Resident Andy McIntyre said the situation was funny at first.
“Now, it’s becoming a nuisance, so to speak,” he said after the second escape. “How would you feel if you woke up to a 12-foot python in your front yard?”
Someone had a similar experience Wednesday night. DeKalb animal control got a call and captured Monty at 347 Trilby Street, according to the county.
“Dammmmmnnn, man,” the Facebook page said, with a picture of Monty coiled up in an animal control vehicle. “I'm stuck in Club Fed. Who's got bail money for me?”
The reptile was being held Thursday at the county animal shelter until repairs are made to the cage, assuming 4-year-old Monty doesn’t make a break for it again.
Alex, whose phone number was posted on the Nextdoor app, assures he’s working on it.
“I was actually just reinforcing my snake cage to make sure this never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever happens again,” he said Thursday, refusing to give his full name to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (The county couldn’t immediately provide his name either.)
How did Monty get out in the first place?
Alex, who said he works with snakes professionally in animal removal, said he was sick and incapacitated both times Monty escaped.
“I’ve never had the flu like this before,” he said. “The snake has learned how to leverage his body” to open the cage.
Now, the owner said the cage will have new latches and three new locks, enough protection that no matter how much Monty wants to stroll East Atlanta Village, he must stay put.
“The trouble’s definitely over,” Alex said.