A Hunan Province man was detained for five days after he freed two snakes in a downtown park as part of a "mercy release" that instead caused a stir among locals.
The 49-year-old surnamed Liu was arrested on Friday for disturbing public order.
Liu said he had released the snakes in gratitude for his son's acceptance to a top university.
Employees at Binghu Park in the city of Changde said they have wrangled up one of the non-poisonous snakes, while the other is still on the loose.
Mercy releases, or fangsheng, have roots in Buddhism and involve freeing captive animals to generate good karma.
Liu said he bought the snakes, both around 1 meter long, at a market for 385 yuan ($56) on August 26.
He set them free in popular Binghu Park, resulting in some locals being too scared to walk through it.
Park employees have since sprayed repellent and installed signs warning visitors to stay away from bushes.