Watch NYPD Officers Wrangle 5-Foot Boa Constrictor in Backyard

June 6, 2024
NYPD Emergency Service Unit officers were called to the backyard of an Upper West Side apartment where they worked to capture an escaped boa constrictor.

By Emma Seiwell, Elizabeth Keogh, Rocco Parascandola and Thomas Tracy

Source New York Daily News

A 5-foot-long boa constrictor was rescued Wednesday morning from an Upper West Side backyard, where it was apparently trying to slither its way into a basement apartment, police said.

A neighbor in the building on W. 87th St. near Columbus Ave. spotted the snake sliding down a gate and trying to go through an open window of a basement apartment, according to cops.

That neighbor called the tenant who lives in the basement apartment, who wasn’t home at the time.

The tenant came home later — and found the snake about 8 a.m., police said.

NYPD Emergency Service Unit cops were called to the backyard of the apartment, where they worked to get the reptile into a pillowcase, video released by police shows.

One of the specialized officers, standing on a stool, carefully lowered the snake into the polka-dotted case as his colleague held it open.

The cops then took the reptile to the Manhattan offices of the Animal Care Centers of NYC.

“I couldn’t believe it. In the heart of Manhattan, you know? It’s very strange to me,” a witness who identified himself as Jimmy told the Daily News.

A responding police officer suffered a minor injury to his back and was taken out of the apartment in a stretcher, officials said. The cop wasn’t near the snake when he was hurt, police said.

Another neighbor who grew up around snakes in the South watched as cops carried the boa constrictor out in a bag.

“It’s harmless. What happens is people get them as pets. The cops said it could’ve escaped from anyone’s backyard,” the person remarked.

Boa constrictors are large, nonvenomous snakes native to Central and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

The snakes can weigh more than 100 pounds in adulthood, but there are very few instances of boa constrictors attacking humans, according to the Smithsonian. Even a human baby is too large to be suitable prey for the snakes, which tend to feed on lizards, birds, bats and rats, among other small animals.

In South America, the snakes are used to control rat infestations in homes. In New York City, however, boa constrictors are illegal.

Staffers at the Animal Care Centers of NYC nicknamed the boa constrictor Severus as an homage to the “Harry Potter” character Professor Severus Snape, agency officials said. Cops initially believed it was a python.

Severus was placed in the care of a “foster guardian” outside the five boroughs after the rescue, agency officials said.

It wasn’t immediately clear where the snake came from or who owns it.


©2024 New York Daily News.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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