Releasing a Boa Contrictor

My second day in Belize was quite eventful and was also my second experience here involving a wild animal.  Some of you may remember the first experience was with a little baby margay.  This time the animal wasn’t quite as cute and fuzzy, instead my boyfriend walked in the door with a cage containing a 6 – 7 foot boa constrictor and it wasn’t happy.

Boa Constrictor in Belize

Boa and Chicken

Suddenly I wasn’t very happy either but it had more to do with the small chicken that was accompanying this snake as its possible future meal.  The cage was put right in the patio area next to the exit so every time we passed by the snake it expelled a noise that made my heart speed up just a little faster.   The chicken was appropriately scared squawking and running in circles as it looked for an escape route.  There was absolutely no way I was going to be in the same small place as this pissed off snake and horrified chicken.

So the first order of business was to get that chicken out.  I knew that snakes didn’t need to eat very often and suspected that it wouldn’t eat in this stressed out situation anyway, combine that with the fact that we were going to release it the next day, and I saw no need to keep that chicken in a constant state of terror.  So my boyfriend told me that he would try to get the chicken out if I caught it once it was out – despite my deep dislike for chickens I agreed.  The snake was convinced we were an immediate harm to it he continued to hiss violently at us while on the other side of the patio door there were three german shepards very curious to know what was happening inside and were barking frantically at the door.  The chicken, being between its two predators, froze – I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s heart stopped for a moment.

My boyfriend was finally able to get the chicken to run past the snake, out the small cage door and to it’s immediate freedom.  As soon as the chicken got out of the cage and it ran frantically around the patio – we found a small container to put him in, I grabbed the chicken without much of a struggle and dumped him in the container.  We would later take him back to the family who originally housed him.  Then it was back to the snake.Boa Constrictor in Belize

Our plan was to get it from the people who had found the snake and ultimately release it back in to the bush away from anyone’s home.  The next problem was that the cage the snake was currently in was much too big to carry in the truck so we would have to transfer it into something else and the ultimate choice was a large duffel bag.  As you can see by the picture here the opening of the cage at the base was very small so the snake would have to be manipulated to move into the bag from the top of the cage.

Boa Contstrictor in Belize

Transferring the boa

The two guys worked with a forked stick and broom to get it into the bag – it took about 20 minutes and the snake was extremely disturbed, hissing, puffing and raising up ready to strike at any moment.  I didn’t think it would actually happen, but they eventually were able to get the snake to go in the bag and zip the bag up leaving us with a snake in a bag.

Releasing a Boa in BelizeThe next step was to drive with the snake to a remote spot to release it and we picked up a family along the way so they could witness the snake’s release back in the wild.  The kid’s screams proved that they were definitely afraid of the snake but they were also curious to see it so there were kids climbing up the truck to avoid being next to the snake while it was let out.

In the end the snake slithered into a cane

Boa Constrictor in Belize

He's free!

field where it had probably been 48 hours earlier.  Everyone had a story to tell now.

1 comment for “Releasing a Boa Contrictor

  1. Emily (@EmilySNC)
    September 19, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Wow! You are certainly having adventures there already. You are a bit braver than me, I think! Good going with the chicken save and snake release….

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