East County wildlife rehabilitator Justin Matthews admitted to staging a dramatic capture of a 14-foot Burmese python from a Manatee County drain pipe July 25.
Matthews made the admission to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Comission officials yesterday.
The capture drew national attention and included his son, Brandon, as well as four Manatee firefighters who did not know the capture was a hoax. Matthews said he was trying to make a point with the staged capture but admitted it was a mistake.
Matthews bought the snake from Southeast Reptile Exhchange June 25. He could face charges for failing to microchip the snake — which is required by state law.
The incident is still under investigation.
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24 Christmas Eve Family Service
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24 Christmas Eve Traditional Service
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25 Christmas Traditional Service
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12 Scramble for SPARCC
Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
River Club’s Cheryl Kaufman says she’s still pinching herself.
A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.