"He feels like a basketball," Milford Police Detective Frank Gall says as he holds a 60-70 pound Burmese Python.
Despite its impressive size, students in Lisa Nori's sixth grade class at Harborside Middle School were eager to hold Elmer, the snake who made headlines in 2009 when Milford Police confiscated the animal as part of an investigation. It took about five students to hold Elmer, with help from Det. Gall and Milford Police ID Technician Melissa Carney.
Elmer was docile. His tongue waved in the air as he sensed his surroundings. But Elmer and some of the other animals Det. Gall brough can be potentially dangerous. That's why he exercises extreme care and caution when handling them and especially so when letting others handle them.
"I treat them like a firearm," he tells the students. "I use my discipline for my firearm in handling these animals."
So, he never points an animal's head at anyone. He respects its power and is always "uber cautious." He also impressed upon the students that owning a pet comes with great responsibility.
Gall speaks from experience. He owns 30 exotic pets, from snakes to iguanas and turtles.