Boa Constrictor Snake Slithers Through Family Balcony, Crushes Kitten

A boa snake that was able to get free from an apartment in France last weekend reportedly killed a kitten in front of residents before being captured.

At about 1 p.m. on Saturday, homeowners watched as the six-foot snake wrapped itself around the cat after appearing to access a first-floor balcony, La Provence reported. Firefighters were called to the scene and the snake was captured without further incident.

The drama happened at a housing building in Marseille. The boa snake was taken into the care of the Societe Protectrice des Animaux (SPA).

One tenant, identified only as Marine, told local radio network France Bleu the snake crushed the kitten.

Reports indicate the owner of the female snake was not in the apartment at the time of its escape.

The reptile, named Nikita, was not being housed in a tank, according to France Bleu.

The news outlet published an image of the snake being held by an employee of the Le bataillon de marins-pompiers de Marseille (BMPM), which is the fire and rescue service.

The kitten passed away at the scene. It was not immediately clear what type of boa snake was involved in the incident. Boa is a common name for a variety of nonvenomous constricting snakes, according to a fact-sheet published online by the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Last month, media outlets reported that a huge boa constrictor was found and captured after being spotted in the wild close to Albert, in northern France. In early August, a boa constrictor was discovered slithering around in a schoolyard near the city of Amiens.

#Intervention particulière réalisée hier soir par #SapeursPompiers pour la découverte d'un reptile
Le #BoaConstrictor a été récupéré avec soin grâce notamment à l'expérience et aux compétences d'un #SapeurPompier @Sdis80 spécifiquement formé sur une précédente affectation #NAC

— Sapeurs-Pompiers de la Somme - SDIS80 (@sdis80) September 11, 2019

According to the website of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, boa constrictors are "named after their mode of predation."

As its experts have explained online: "Once the snake has its body wrapped around the prey, it squeezes just enough to cause a 'circulatory arrest' by cutting off the ability of the heart to pump blood in and out. By keeping blood from flowing to the brain, the animal dies."

In the U.S., anyone who encounters a snake is advised to contact their local animal control agency, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, a 2-year-old was rushed to hospital in South Carolina after being bitten on the leg by a venomous copperhead snake while walking in the front yard with his parents. A woman in Tennessee praised her elderly father's new cat after it killed a snake that made its way into his home. "I think the Lord sent the cat to us to save my dad," Teresa Seals told WHAS.

File photo: Eyes of the boa snake
File photo: Eyes of the boa snake. A boa was able to get free from an apartment in France, reportedly killed a kitten in front of residents. iStock