Python, post Water Wheel (photo: Waterfront Partnership)

The giant, solar-powered water wheel in Inner Harbor is designed to collect trash. But you never what it’s going to turn up. After last night’s thunderstorm, staffers found a python looking to dry out.

The water wheel’s animal views are usually limited to ducks, and the more memorable finds usually come in the form of inanimate objects — like the time a beer keg washed up.

“This is the single weirdest thing we’ve ever found,” said Adam Lindquist, Healthy Harbor Manager with the Waterfront Partnership, which operates the Water Wheel.

As the garbage was flowing down the Jones Falls after midnight, a team that monitors the wheel from Clearwater Mills noticed something unusual. But since they watch the wheel with a night-vision webcam, they couldn’t make out what it was.

The answer came after the dumpster was full and needed changing on Wednesday morning.

“Sure enough there was a 5 ft. long python hanging out on top of the electrical control box,” Lindquist said.


— Mr. Trash Wheel (@MrTrashWheel) August 5, 2015

Since it’s just a couple of piers over, the National Aquarium was alerted. Curator Jack Cover came down, and quickly identified that it was a ball python.

While it’s not a native species, Lindquist said, “It is a very popular pet snake because it is not aggressive and not poisonous.”

Knowing this, Cover then picked up the python with his bare hands.

Jack Cover and python (Waterfront Partnership)
Jack Cover stretches out the python. (photo: Waterfront Partnership)

Cover reasoned that the snake probably curled up on the electrical box in search of a warm, dry spot. Ball pythons can swim, but they don’t live in the water. Then, when the cold-blooded creature got out, it naturally gravitated toward the warmth of the electrical box’s solar power.

As for how it got in the Jones Falls, Lindquist said the snake probably either escaped its home, or was “liberated.” But Lindquist suspects that it’s just in between addresses.

“We’re going to find it a home,” he said.

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.