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Boa constrictor

A 7-foot-long boa constrictor was recovered near the Mississippi River Wednesday. It has been adopted. 

Imagine sitting along the Mississippi River shoreline in Fulton, Ill., with fishing pole in hand, drowning a few worms, and enjoying a sunny day.

Suddenly, you see something move out of the corner of your eye. That something turns out to be a 7-foot long boa constrictor that is lazily sunning itself on the rocks next to you and probably wondering if you are ever going to catch a fish.

Logan Foster of Fulton was traveling along the road to his favorite fishing hole at Lock & Dam 13 on July 23 when he observed a large snake laying along the road. Logan took a picture of the snake that was later identified as a boa constrictor. Many native species of snakes are present in the Mississippi River area, but boa constrictors are not one of them.

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In late September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service became aware of rumors that a boa was present in the Potter’s Marsh area of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Refuge staff advised the Corps of Engineers staff at Lock and Dam 13 to be on the lookout for the boa.

Mark Nettles, a Corps of Engineers employee, was on his way to work on the morning of Oct. 3 when he spotted the boa laying alongside the road near Lock and Dam 13. Mark is a snake buff and rescued the seven-foot long snake which could barely move due to the cold temperatures. He loaded the large boa into the bed of his truck and notified the refuge.

Several calls were made by the refuge to find someone who would accept this large boa constrictor. Don Decker, a snake savior and educator from Cedar Rapids, adopted the snake and took it home to join the rest of his snake family.

There are many types of exotic pets being commercially sold that aren’t native to the Quad-City area. Some of these end up being released into the wild. Boas and other mild temperate animals will not survive our harsh winters.

Refuge staff encourage the public to report unusual sightings of wildlife (especially exotic wildlife).

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the most visited refuge in the United States. The refuge extends 261 miles along the Upper Mississippi River from Wabasha, Minn. to Princeton, protecting and preserving habitat for migratory birds, fish, and a variety of other wildlife.

Photos: Big fish caught in North Iowa

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