POSTED: 12:31 p.m. HST, Aug 15, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 12:31 p.m. HST, Aug 15, 2013
PHILADELPHIA >> A seven-foot boa constrictor slithered away from the home of the veterinarian who owns it.
Police in the Philadelphia suburb of Swarthmore and the snake's owner, David Spiegel, said the snake likely doesn't pose a risk to humans or even most pets — though it may well attack moles, frogs or birds.
Spiegel typically lets the snake sun itself in his yard, he said, but on Monday the snake was gone when he returned to check on it.
Residents have been alerted out of "an abundance of caution," said Swarthmore police Chief Brian Craig.
Spiegel said the snake is "friendly" with other pets as it has been raised with their children, two cats and a tiny dog.
According to Latoya Latney, the veterinarian in charge of exotic services at the University of Pennsylvania, boa constrictors tend to acclimate well to people and pets.
"But animals are animals," Latney said. "If they fear they're being attacked, they might attack, just like a dog if someone's running at it screaming."
She also said the snake will likely try to stay in warm areas and conceal itself.
"Chances are, the snake's hiding somewhere trying to figure out how to get home," Latney said.
Spiegel's snake has slipped away from home at least once before, he said, and been returned.
Craig said the recent python attack in Canada that killed two boys might affect how people react to the snake on the loose in Swarthmore, but he stressed that the boa is a completely different snake that is smaller and of a different temperament.