College student Ross Price had just put in a long study session, and he wasn't prepared for what he found moving by his parking space.
At first, it looked like the parking block had shifted. Then he saw something far scarier: An 11-foot reticulated python had slithered under his roommate's Toyota Camry.
"I'm used to seeing snakes, but nothing that big," said Price, 24, a student at Nova Southeastern University. "You just don't expect something like that wandering around your house."
Price and his roommate, James Hand, called an exterminator on that Feb. 1 night, but the person who answered said it was too late to send someone. So they called police, and reported that a snake about six feet long had crawled under Hand's car.
Officer Tony Bernardo, a 20-year-veteran who is the department's go-to guy for dealing with wildlife, responded along with two other officers.
The snake put up a fight, twisting and moving deeper into the Camry's engine compartment as the officers attempted to slowly pull it out. It took them about 15 minutes to remove the clinging reptile.
"Bigger than I initially thought it was," said Price, who along with Hand stood nearby watching the extraction.
Hand, 25, also an NSU student, said it was lucky that Price saw the snake when he did.
"I thought about it later," he said. "What if it had crawled up into my car and made its way inside as I was driving? ... I don't want to think about it."
Davie police spokesman Sgt. Mark Leone said the snake probably was once a pet because it was found in a residential area.
Once it was removed from the car, police took a video of Bernardo holding up the snake, which they say appeared calm.
Later, it was turned over to Strictly Reptiles, a company licensed by the state to care for exotic animals.
Leone said the snake is not the same as a Burmese python, the species that has invaded the Everglades and has been discovered closer to populated areas.
Four Burmese pythons, including a 16-foot female, were found earlier this week huddled inside an old bunker at the defunct U.S. military base in the Florida Keys. Earlier this month, school children found a 10-foot Burmese python near the abandoned Homestead Golf Course.
(c)2017 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)