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Boa Constrictor in Orlando FL

08.23.2003 - I caught this Boa Constrictor here in Orlando Florida. An elderly couple called me about a large snake in their garage. Usually, a large snake turns out to be a tiny three-foot imitation of a pencil. However, these folk weren't kidding! When I showed up, sure enough, there was one large snake coiled up next to the lawn mower in the garage. I was actually confused about it at first. I wasn't expecting to see a Boa Constrictor out and about, and since I don't have much experience with pet snakes, I didn't recognize it as a boa at first. I was unable to identify it, and thought that it might be a very large version of a Brown Water Snake, which I'd read can grow to lengths of six feet.

I treated the snake cautiously, and used my snake tongs to steer it into a snake sack, whereupon I prepared to relocate it to a wild lake area. I was intrigued with my new catch, and took many a peek at it, and finally found that it was very docile and easy to handle. In fact, in the above photo, I was still holding the snake with a degree of caution - it had in fact struck a few times, but probably because I wasn't gentle enough with it. I soon found that it was very easy to handle and hold and I let it curl itself all around me.

After some online research, I discovered that it was in fact a Boa Constrictor, or as some people call them, a Red-Tailed Boa. Once I knew this fact, I reconsidered my plan to relocate the snake. First of all, the snake is not meant to live in the wilds of Orlando. These snakes are native to South and Central America. It might not survive well here, or it might harm the native species. Secondly, the Florida Conservation Comission forbids the relocation of any non-indigenous species. So it'd be against the law to relocate.

I certainly didn't want to harm this pretty creature, so I called around to various pet shops in an attempt to give the snake away, but no one wanted it. I then found an organization here in Orlando called Snake Getters, and the agreed to take the snake. A nice man came and retrieved it, and said that he will use it for breeding purposes.

Overall, I was pleased with the catch, and it was an exciting change from the usual smaller snakes that I normally catch. My guess, of course, is that the snake either escaped captivity, or was purposefully released, because the owner didn't want to take care of it any more. The latter option is an unfortunate byproduct of the exotic pet trade - they're fun and cute when they're babies, and they they grow up and become a tiresome responsibility. I suppose that there's an off-chance that there's a breeding population of Boas here in Orlando, but I highly doubt that, because I've seen no reports of this, and I don't think the climate is quite warm enough here.

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