British police urge public to be on alert for boa on the loose

Other News Materials 5 August 2008 21:29 (UTC +04:00)

British police were on the look-out Tuesday for a 1.8-metre-long boa constrictor which escaped from a home and could be searching for a "warm and damp" place to hide from the unusually cool summer weather, dpa reported.

Police urged residents in the town of Chatham, in the southern county of Kent, to keep their doors and windows shut and not to attempt to approach or touch the large brown snake if they see it.

"Keep windows and doors closed, and small animals in the house if possible," said police inspector Dave Coleman. "Do not touch it or attempt to pick it up by the tail as these snakes do bite."

He said the snake would be looking for a damp, dark and warm location, and as it had been recently been fed it would be "fairly lethargic."

Boa constrictors are non-venomous snakes usually found in central and south America which kill their prey by squeezing them to death.

They are also excellent swimmers and can survive for up to 30 years in captivity living on mice, rats and chicks.