A snake skin in excess of 10 feet was found along the Presumpscot River in Westbrook Saturday afternoon, adding physical evidence to reports that a large snake, dubbed “Wessie,” may be living in the area.
According to a press release issued by Westbrook police Capt. Sean Lally, a resident reported finding the snake skin at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 near the boat launch along Riverbank Park.
Lally said Westbrook police officers “responded, photographed, collected, and tagged the skin, which will be examined in attempts to determine what type of snake shed it and what risks this type of snake poses to public safety.”
A photo of the skin was captured by a responding officer. The skin appears to be well over 10 feet in length. Lally said snake experts will examine it.
The release states that until the species of snake is determined, “we caution people who recreate along the Presumpscot River to remain alert, maintain a safe distance from any wildlife, and report any sightings of the snake to the Westbrook Police Department.”
The first reported sighting of a snake, which locals quickly named “Wessie,” was made in late June, and a week later two police officers reported seeing the snake eating what looked like a beaver or other mammal. Since that time, there have been no reported sightings, but the “Wessie” name has appeared on Twitter, t-shirts and a new beer by Mast Landing Brewing Co.
Officials believe the snake, which is not native to Maine, was most likely released in the area.
Earlier this week, Westbrook officials said a cryptozoologist was still set to visit the river to track the snake. However, the discovery of the skin will likely produce more information after it is examined by reptile experts.