7-Foot Python Hitches Ride In Manila

(AP) Commuters in the Philippine capital got a shock when they found an unwelcome passenger on their minibus: a 7-foot-long python.

The discovery Thursday sent passengers running and snarled traffic in the Manila suburb of Quezon City, police said Friday.

The python had wrapped itself around steel suspension bars under a "jeepney," a kind of minibus unique to the Philippines, that had traveled into the capital from a nearby province, traffic police Inspector Erlito Renegin said.

Passengers scampered to safety after the snake crawled out from under the jeepney onto the road during a stop, Renegin told The Associated Press. Other cars tried to avoid hitting it, he said.

Renegin said he worked with traffic officials and bystanders to wrestle the snake into a sack.

Dante Santiago, a snake handler from the government's Wildlife Rescue Center who picked up the python from a police station, said the animal appeared tame. Despite being handled many times, it lunged at him only once, indicating it was familiar with people and could have been a pet that escaped, he said.

Wildlife officials said they would return the python if someone could prove ownership, but that they otherwise would keep it and perhaps release it into the wild.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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