Boa Constrictor Found Slithering up Colorado Resident's Front Yard

A 5.5 ft long boa found its way into the front yard of a house in the center of Fort Collins, around 60 miles north of Denver.

A spokesperson from the Northern Colorado Herpetological Society, which found the 16-pound snake, told Newsweek: "She was originally found by a good samaritan from Animal Friends Alliance in a residential front yard. They were able to get her into a tote bin and bring her to us on the same day she was found without incident, as she has a sweet and docile temperament."

boa constrictor curled up
The lost boa pictured by the The Northern Colorado Herpetological Society. She was reunited with her family after escaping and being found in a front yard in Colorado. The Northern Colorado Herpetological Society

Boas, a group of snakes comprising around 40 species, are large non-venomous snakes often kept as pets. The boa constrictor, also known as the red-tailed boa, have distinctive scale patterns, which appear to match those of the boa captured in Fort Collins by the Northern Colorado Herpetological Society.

Boa constrictors can live for 20 to 30 years and generally grow to lengths of 13 feet, according to National Geographic magazine, with the longest ever recorded measuring a gargantuan 18 feet long.

Their name refers to their method of killing: in the absence of venom, boa constrictors hold prey still with their jaws as they wrap their bodies around it, suffocating it. They have a broad diet, eating anything they can, including birds, monkeys, and wild pigs.

After the prey is dead, the snake can then unhinge its jaws and swallow the prey whole: even animals as large as alligators have been observed being pulled into a boa constrictor's maw.

"She was brought in and given a veterinary checkup upon arrival, where we found old burn scars (healed), cleaned out her mouth, and helped with some stuck shed. We are currently monitoring her breathing for signs of upper respiratory infection," said the Northern Colorado Herpetological Society.

Boas are native to tropical Central and South America, but have been shipped to the U.S. and other countries as part of the pet trade: between 1977 and 1983, 113,000 live boa constrictors were imported into the U.S., with the majority of the constrictors being captively bred in the U.S.

This boa, also a pet, will be reunited with its original family, who had been searching for her all over their home.

"As it turns out, we will be meeting with the original owners this afternoon! We received a voicemail from someone who claims they were tearing apart their house looking for her, assuming that the boa was still in their house.

"A friend of their friend saw our Facebook post and sent it over to them, and we can thank our community for sharing and boosting the post on social media."

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According to a Facebook post sharing the boa's story, if the reptile hadn't been claimed, it would have been made available for adoption by the Northern Colorado Herpetological Society after an initial stray-hold period and quarantine.

Other exotic snakes that have been imported to the U.S. as part of the pet trade have become much more of a problem than just nuisance escapees.

In Florida in particular, escaped pet pythons have bred to such an extent that they are considered an invasive species. Th reptiles are having such serious impacts on the other local flora and fauna that there is an annual Python Challenge encouraging hunters to capture and kill as many of the snakes as they can.