Monday, October 15, 2018 Elyria 54°
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'Lilith' the boa takes a brief walkabout in Elyria (VIDEO, UPDATED)

The snake's owner says she likes to move around

  • Elyria-police-snake

    Elyria Police officer Aaron Varga holds the snake that he helped apprehend after someone saw it slithering up a driveway.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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UPDATE: The snake’s owner has been found and will pick up the boa Wednesday.

Austin Hubbell, of Elyria, found that his boa, Lilith, had gotten out while he was cleaning her home cage. He’d put her in her feeding cage, which doesn’t have a latch on it, while cleaning the the other cage in his backyard on Dilworth Street. She pushed items off the top of her feeding cage and got out around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. She made it about a street over before police were called. 

Having just recently eaten a large rat, he said Lilith wasn’t a danger to anyone — snack-size pets included. He suspects she just wanted out in the warm grass.

“She is harmless, she’s never bitten me, she’s never bitten anyone I’ve had hold her,” he said. “She’s never really been aggressive, she just likes to move. She’s constantly moving around her cage and just doing everything she can to just be on the move.”

Hubbell said Lilith is 2-to-3-years old, and he’s had her for around six months. He plans on buying her a new feeding cage with latches like her home cage has so she doesn’t escape again. 

ELYRIA – When Elyria Police Officer Aaron Varga got a call to investigate a snake loose in a neighborhood this morning, he expected something like a garden snake, not a nearly 6-foot-long boa constrictor.

Varga arrived at about 10:30 a.m. at a home on Elma Drive. A woman told Varga the snake was slithering up her driveway toward her car. When he saw the boa constrictor on the driveway, he steeled himself and did his best to move it away from the vehicle: The veteran Elyria police officer grabbed the snake — and pulled. Eventually, Varga was able to corral the snake into a pillow case the resident gave him.

“Never in my 12 years in here (on the department) have I seen or done something like this, for sure,” he said.

The snake is now in the care of the Friendship Animal Protective League. Executive Director Greg Willey said the cold-blooded creature, identified as a red tail boa constrictor, was most likely basking in the sun in the oddly warm October weather.

Red tail boas can grow to up to 10 feet long, and live for 20 years if well cared for as pets, according to a factsheet from the National Geographic website. They eat about once a week -—yes, they are carnivores — females grow larger than males and they don’t do well in temperatures colder than 78 degrees.

“I think if we found (it) at the end of this week,” Willey said, “it probably would have been a much more different story.”  

Willey said the snake appeared comfortable around people, healthy and had recently shed its skin. Without blood work, Willey said it’s nearly impossible to guess the age or sex of the snake.

Boa constrictors aren’t too dangerous to adults. However, they can be a threat to small children and animals,” Willey said. Thankfully, no lumps were visible on the snake indicating a new meal. He said it’s also difficult to know if the snake was hungry, which means it could have been possible the reptile was looking to make a meal of a small dog or cat. 

Boas are not native to the state of Ohio. Willey said the owner either abandoned it or it escaped its home. The APL will hold it for 72 hours like it would any other stray animal before it is put up for adoption. Willey is already expecting a family to adopt the boa constrictor soon, if no one claims it. The family already cares for three other snakes in their home.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.


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