By Julia Zorthian
August 22, 2016

A 10-foot snakeskin found on the bank of the Presumpscot River in Maine on Saturday has put the town on the lookout for what may be a giant python on the loose.

Residents of Westbrook, Maine have reported scattered sightings of what they’ve named “Wessie,” a giant snake, over the past few weeks, but those reports had died down until the Saturday discovery. The Westbrook Police said in a Facebook post that experts would determine the snake’s species using a sample of the skin.

“Until the type of snake is determined and we can assess the safety risk,” the police office said, “we caution people who recreate along the Presumpscot River to remain alert, maintain a safe distance from any wildlife.”

While police are taking the skin seriously, experts have noted that snakes rarely shed their skin and leave it like that; a person could have placed it there deliberately, the Washington Post reports.

A June 23 police report said an officer spotted the snake eating what appeared to be a beaver. Since people first saw Wessie near a playground in June, the snake has earned a fanbase in the town—with people even setting up Facebook and Twitter profiles for the elusive reptile.

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

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