Snake search over at Mall of Louisiana; Cara the python found safe
BATON ROUGE - After two days of searching the Mall of Louisiana for a python that escaped from the Mall's Blue Zoo aquarium, the snake was finally discovered in a crawl space early Thursday morning.
The python, whose name is Cara, was transported to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for a health check. She was released from the vet school's care Thursday afternoon.
A Blue Zoo representative who was flown in to take a leading role in the search efforts told WBRZ crews had been searching for Cara day and night, and their efforts met with success around 3:45 a.m. Thursday when they successfully recaptured the 12-foot python.
The representative said the team was relieved to find Cara safe and sound.
The Blue Zoo intends to launch an investigation into exactly how she managed to escape from her habitat when she's back home.
The Blue Zoo representative told WBRZ once they figure out how the great escape occurred, the zoo will take steps to ensure this never happens again.
On Wednesday, newly-released audio recordings of the call for help from the Blue Zoo to animal experts suggested staff watched the snake escape its enclosure and had exhausted their own ability to search when they finally called for help more than a day after the snake got loose.
"We need your help locating our friend," an employee is heard on a recording phoning animal control asking for help.
"Professional help, you being the professionals, would be greatly appreciated," the worker tells the animal control operator.
Amid some chuckling among those on the call about the bizarre nature of the situation, store employees express some concern.
"We've checked all over, but for us to get professional help, is a little more secure," an employee said.
The worker said security camera video showed the snake slithering out of its enclosure and entering the store's ceiling. The store is in the space formerly occupied by Hollister near Dillard's.
As the operator leaves the conversation briefly, store workers are heard on the recording discussing their stress and shock.
"I didn't sleep well," one worker is heard in the background. "I was on the break of going into...shock."
When the store called animal control Tuesday morning, the snake had been missing for more than a day. Records show employees believe the snake escaped around 2 a.m. Monday. The search began in earnest with the call to animal control and firefighters helped, too, Tuesday mid-morning.
"We have track marks and scales and her on camera and everything," the worker said on the call.
"She went into the ceiling at Blue Zoo. Now, the mall of Louisiana is closed because there's a 12-foot Burmese python loose," workers told animal control agents on the phone.
They were certain at the time the snake wasn't able to leave the store area, although they wanted assurance: [The snake is] in the roofing area of our facility, we don't think she has access outside of our facility."
"That presents a problem already," the animal control operator said.
Cara, a 12-foot Burmese python, weighs about 150-pounds. Store operators have said the snake is non-venomous and is "friendly."
The Blue Zoo was closed Tuesday and Wednesday for the search.
Wednesday, maintenance experts in plumbing and HVAC helped search pipes and ductwork in the store.
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