By Don Ford

BURLINGAME (KPIX) — When people come to the Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame to adopt an animal, most are usually looking for a dog or a cat, or maybe even a rabbit. But as it turns out, the shelter has a substantial surplus of snakes.

Since last year, the facility has seen a spike in people dropping off ball pythons at the Burlingame location. Officials at the Peninsula Humane Society are now looking for experienced snake owners to adopt the reptiles.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve received ten [pythons], which is double what we normally receive,” said PHS Communications Manager Buffy Martin Tarbox.

Martin Tarbox says the shelter is not really sure what the reason behind the spike could be.

The ball pythons are about three feet long, eat only once a week and like warm, moist places. One of the snakes was named Slinky by the PHS and appears to be friendly, according to exotic animal caretaker Mariela Mavarrete.

When asked if Slinky had bitten anyone at the shelter, Mavarrete replied, “He has not bitten anybody since we had him.”

It takes a special person to want to care for a pet snake. The PHS says there is a vetting process before anyone is allowed to adopt one of these pythons. Candidates must prove that they can care for the snake, understand what they eat and how to maintain a proper environment to keep the snake healthy.

The Peninsula Humane Society says they are an open admissions shelter, which means they accept almost any animal. Even nearly a dozen ball python snakes.

“There’re actually cuddly. I know a lot of people can’t believe that a snake can be cuddly. But a ball python actually can be cuddly and they really enjoy a lot of human interaction,” said Martin Tarbox.

So anyone in the Bay Area who has room in their home and their heart for a snake, is invited to visit the Peninsula Humane Society to see if they might find a new pet.

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