Jax Beach police hunting for 8-foot boa constrictor

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - The search is on for an 8-foot Colombian red-tail boa constrictor that disappeared Sunday from a home in the 700 block of 5th Avenue North in Jacksonville Beach.

The snake's owner reported the disappearance to police, telling officers the snake has been raised as a pet since birth. It is fed small mice, rats and rabbits.

The snake was recently fed and the owner believes the snake will stay in the immediate area around his home and remain docile.

"I would liken her to a giant earthworm, owner Rick Watts said. "She's extremely docile.

Watts said the snake got loose when a friend from out of town was handling the snake and put her back in the cage.

"Unbeknownst to me, he did not properly put he her back," Watts said. "So they're escape artists."

While boas are not venomous, they squeeze their prey and can deliver a powerful bite.

It is legal to own a boa constrictor in the state as long guidelines from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are followed.

Watts assured his neighbors that the snake is not a threat.

"I have a one-eyed Chihuahua who's quite safe around her, so she's not a very aggressive animal at all," Watts said.

Jacksonville Beach Police and Animal Control are searching the area for the snake.  Anyone who sees the snake is asked to immediately call 904 270-1661.

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