MERCER: Steve, the snake, a six-foot-long boa constrictor, may be on the loose in the North Pitt Street area of the county seat.
“It’s serious business,” said Paul Tobin of the Mercer County Humane Society. “So we just wanted to let everyone know that this thing is out there, and if you see it, you probably shouldn’t play with it.”
The snake reportedly escaped from its owner’s home in North Pitt three days ago, Tobin said. The animal is not poisonous and has recently been fed, which means that it should not go out looking for food.
“But these snakes are opportunists,” Tobin said. “So if the opportunity arose, I would probably eat.”
Although young children are probably safe, Tobin said, local residents may want to keep an eye out for small animals like kittens, rats or squirrels.
These snakes can move at a speed of about a mile per hour, so “if it were really moving,” Tobin said, “it could be anywhere within a 75-mile radius.”
However, Tobin thinks that outcome is unlikely.
“He was probably looking for a place to snuggle up and keep warm,” Tobin said, adding that residents need to watch out for firewood piles, sheds with openings where an animal could get in and under car hoods.
“Under the hoods of the cars there is a definite possibility,” Tobin said. “If he can get in there, he could get into the car, so people should pay attention to what they’re doing.”
The animal’s owner has offered a $200 reward for its safe return, Tobin said, prompting complaints from some on social media who say it’s not much of an incentive to go hunting for a snake.
“No one was ever told to catch him,” Tobin said. “They told them that if they saw him they should call.”
Tobin said anyone with information about the snake should call 911, local police or the Mercer County Humane Society.
“If you can call when you’re there looking at it instead of saying you saw it on your way to work three hours ago, that would be for the best,” Tobin said.