GRAND FORKS -- Amy Devine was driving her daughter and some friends home from Columbia Mall in Grand Forks on Sunday afternoon when she saw a couple of cars pulled over on a road south of town. Thinking there had been an accident, Devine slowed up -- and there it was.
A very,very long, thick tan boa constrictor with dark diamond and oval patterns was casually hanging out.
Once it was clear the snake was not in an aggressive mood, the girls got out of the car to take some pictures. One of the other cars that had stopped had called 911.
A deputy with the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Lt. Gary Grove. The deputy, working with North Dakota game warden Blake Riewer, helped transport the reptile to the Circle of Friends Humane Society.
“That’s a role we do for the city, and we’re happy to do it,” said Circle of Friends director Lauralee Tupa.
The snake was put into a terrarium that had been previously donated to the humane society, Tupa said.
Circle of Friends gets its fair share of odd animals.
“We never know what we’re going to get,” she said.
Last month, someone brought in a bearded dragon (a large lizard) that was found in a trash bin in Grand Forks, said Amanda Pinkerton who has worked at the humane society for three years.
“He seems nice and handleable, but he’s a bit nervous from being thrown into a crate,” Pinkerton said of the boa.
At Circle of Friends, the boa is on a five-day stray hold. If someone in the area is missing a boa, which staff said is about 6 feet long, he or she will have to go through some steps to get it back.
Tupa said the owner must provide proof of purchase or other evidence of ownership, and the owner must meet with an animal trainer and vet to discuss how to best handle the animal.
“We really try to find a good place for the animal,” Tupa said.
Boa constrictors are native to a large area of the western hemisphere stretching from the southern United States to the southern portion of Brazil. Had the snake been outdoors during a frost, it likely would have died.
The snakes are intimidating, but not venomous. Mature adults can grow as long as 13 feet.