A female ball python 43 inches in length was found on North Iron Street Wednesday, according to Salem Animal Control Officer Jarred Brown.
Brown said a homeowner was pulling into her drive, saw the snake crossing the drive, and ran over it with her vehicle, killing it.
There have been unconfirmed reports of other pythons or large domesticated snakes, according to Brown.
“This is the first one I have picked up,” he said.
Brown stated there were not any leads as to the owner of the snake.
Ball pythons are not native to Missouri. In the Salem city limits, there are ordinances that regulate ownership of reptiles. As of Aug. 1 the city code prohibits any deadly, dangerous or poisonous reptile, or any such reptile over eight feet in any place other than a properly maintained zoological park, circus, scientific or educational institution, research laboratory, veterinary hospital or animal refuge.
The ordinance has been an issue of discussion at board of aldermen meetings over the last two months.
Salem residents Derick Monday and Brandt Ehrhardt, and county resident Elmer Leach, have spoken out against the ordinance.
"Reptiles pose a one in nine million chance of being a threat to citizens, far less than many other animals," Monday said at the Aug. 5 meeting of the board.
City Administrator Clayton Lucas said last month that the city’s newly revised ordinance mirrors state regulations, except that the city's ordinance prohibits any snakes that are more than eight feet long. State regulations require registration of snakes more than eight feet.
Inspections would be done by Brown to determine whether any reptiles kept in the city limits meet the criteria to be prohibited.
Brown declined to give an interpretation of the ordinance, citing the ongoing discussion as his reason.