Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Driver sees boa constrictor blocking St. Petersburg roadway

This 8- to 10-foot boa constrictor, stretching the width of a street’s lane, was seen in St. Petersburg on Saturday night.

Photo courtesy of Nung Bedell

This 8- to 10-foot boa constrictor, stretching the width of a street’s lane, was seen in St. Petersburg on Saturday night.

ST. PETERSBURG — They're heeeere.

Nung Bedell spotted the invader blocking his drive home Saturday night on Brighton Bay Boulevard NE. It was 8 to 10 feet long, known to strangle its prey, eat small animals and make headlines.

It was a boa constrictor, a non-native species of giant snake let loose on the state's ecology by irresponsible pet owners. This one was the length of the southbound lane, and in no rush to go anywhere.

State officials say the entire species isn't going anywhere. Florida already has thousands of such boa constrictors and pythons and more are breeding. It's not just the Everglades' problem anymore.

"That's what blows me away," Bedell said. "We think this is just an Everglades issue? We're talking about St. Pete."

Bedell called the St. Petersburg Police Department. That led to a standoff: man vs. reptile.

"I kind of jokingly said shoot it," Bedell said. "But I really wanted the officer to shoot it."

Surrounded by four officers trying to corral it, the dormant snake suddenly jolted to life and slithered off into mangroves.

Bedell, a 38-year-old engineer, knows the snakes have become a big ,writhing mess in Florida. He pointed to the July 1 death of a 2-year-old Sumter County girl strangled by an 81/2-foot pet Burmese python that got loose.

Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said that incident could explain why the giant snake was seen in an urban environment.

"Dollars to doughnuts someone has dumped a pet because of all the publicity surrounding the unfortunate events in Sumter County," he said.

The St. Petersburg officers had tried to call Pinellas County Animal Services, Bedell said, but couldn't get any help. Animal services said it doesn't have a record of that request.

Animal services can only do so much with a snake that big. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it needs to get the call whenever a snake longer than 8 feet is found.

"Your average person does not want to go ahead and deal with snakes that size, especially not dangerous ones," Hardin said. "It's not for people who don't know what they're doing or the faint of heart."

Try telling that to Bedell. He's already gotten some pointers from a professional trapper.

This town isn't big enough for the both of them.

"I really don't like snakes," he said. "I'm determined to go out there and hunt this thing down."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

Fast Facts

Got giant snakes?

Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Lakeland office at (863) 648-3200 for help during the day. Pasco County Animal Services can help with some snakes at (727) 582-2600. If you find one at night and it's an emergency (say, it's in your house) call your local law enforcement agency for help.

Driver sees boa constrictor blocking St. Petersburg roadway 07/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 23, 2009 4:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  2. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]
  3. Man convicted of second-degree murder in killing of Baby Doe, his girlfriend's daughter

    Nation

    BOSTON — A man was convicted Monday of murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shore of a Boston Harbor island.

    Michael McCarthy’s friend Michael Sprinsky, far left, gets a hug from sister Laura Sprinsky after McCarthy is found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Bella Bond, who became known as Baby Doe.
  4. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  5. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)