Apparently a 14-foot python was not pulled from a storm drain.
Trapper Admits Python Hoax
Justin Matthews’ account of capturing a 14-foot Burmese python gave him 15 minutes of fame last month in the opening days of a statewide anti-python campaign.
Thursday he got his 15 minutes of infamy at a press conference convened by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after wildlife officials concluded the whole thing was staged.
Matthews told Bay News 9 that he had bought the snake, which he called Sweetie, at a Tampa reptile store and then staged the capture, saying the snake was found in a culvert in Bradenton.
He said the staging was part of a plan to educate the public about the python problem.
Matthews said, when the original owner who sold the snake to the reptile store saw his snake on the news, he contacted the Wildlife Commission.
“I do want to apologize to anybody that thinks this was wrong, what I did,” Matthews told Bay News 9. “To me, I’ll never do it again but as is turns out, like I say, I’m getting more calls, and I did raise awareness by doing this.”