Red-tailed boa constrictors are used to dense, humid tropical forests. So it was quite the surprise when conservation officers were called to remove one roaming in Saskatoon.
The Saskatchewan Association of Conservation Officers posted about the call on Facebook Tuesday.
“Further proof that any given day on the job can be an adventure,” the post started.
According to the association, Saskatoon police received a call about a large snake found in the east end of the city Sunday evening.
Police then called conservation officers out to 8th Street and Zimmerman Road to help capture and contain the 1.5 metre long red-tailed boa.
“It is believed that this particular snake may have been held illegally, and was dumped after the owner decided that they no longer wanted or could take care of it anymore,” the post read.
The snake was then taken to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, where it was transported to Sask. Reptile Shows and Rescue in Colonsay.
Wrangler Elisa Wilkie, who has worked with exotic animals for 13 years, owns and operates the certified rescue. She told 650 CKOM the snake is a four-year-old female, which her daughter named Pip.
“She’s in really healthy condition now, so whoever had her before was taking great care of her. But we think her little adventure caused her to be dehydrated,” Wilkie said, noting the constrictor was more than likely born in captivity.
To help hydrate, Wilkie said Pip has been treated to plenty of baths and is doing very well.
“She’s a large snake so we put her in the Jacuzzi tub to have her first bath and she really loved it. She had a nice 60-minute soak,” Wilkie said. “She does have a bit of a rough shed she has to go through before her skin is all smooth again.”
Exotic constrictors are illegal to import and possess in Saskatchewan. Wilkie said that doesn’t stop people from buying them.
“Then when it comes time when they can’t keep them anymore, other than my rescue, there’s really nowhere for them to go (in Saskatchewan),” she said.
Wilkie’s rescue works with animal groups in the province to take in exotics, reptiles, arachnids and amphibians. She then connects with organizations outside Saskatchewan to rehome the animals legally and safely.
Wilkie said Pip already has an adoption application from Manitoba. The snake will need to spend a mandatory 30 days at the rescue to ensure she’s healthy before being rehomed.
Constrictors require a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – or CITES – permit to be brought into Canada.
People are urged to contact the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment to report anyone illegally possessing exotic wildlife, as the intentional release or escape of these animals could pose a detrimental effect on native animal species.