Did Louisiana flooding drive this nearly 20-foot-long snake from its lair?
UPDATE 5/23/11: Dino Ferri, curator of herpetology at the Jacksonville Zoo, guesses that this could be a Scrub (Amethystine) Python, the largest Australian snake. Here are photos of a scrub python eating a wallaby.
ORIGINAL: Ophidiophobes will be comforted to know that this monstrous snake, which one could hang an entire Guatemalan village's worth of wet clothing on, is not from America, as originally billed.
The snake became Internet famous apparently after some joker submitted it to the user photo gallery of Louisiana's Channel 9 News, where BoingBoing posted about it under the title, “Giant snake flees Mississippi floods.” (Apologies if I'm somewhat mangling the history of this viral reptile.) The story was that flooding caused by the recent opening of the state's Morganza Spillway drove the beast from its lair and onto the highway, where it was photographed pulling a Jack Kerouac on its way to eat a whole diner full of horrified people.
However, as commentators later pointed out, this species is not native to the U.S. It's a King Brown, native to Australia, and that's where it was photographed. Good thing it's confined on an island, too, because these things are highly venomous and irritable, not beyond lunging at people who bug them with flashlights.
So you can get back to your life now, or at least until the 16-foot snakes of the Florida Everglades formulate their plans for world domination.