Clearwater, FL

Florida Police Officer Captures 5-Foot Boa constrictor That Was Hiding in Storeroom of a Clearwater Store

Toby Hazlewood

Snake and officer unharmed during the encounter
Officer Matheny of Clearwater PDPhoto byFacebook of Clearwater PD

On May 22, a police officer from Clearwater PD - Officer Matheny - was captured on camera as the fearless officer managed to coax a 5-foot long red-tailed Boa Constrictor snake from behind a barred-window in the back room of a store.

Praised for her fearlessness in the face of such a large and intimidating creature, Officer Matheny carefully pulled and eased the snake from its hiding place, and eventually placed it in a cooler box before it was taken to a vet for a checkup.

To serve and protect

While police officers are used to dealing with other more-threatening adversaries, the episode in Clearwater demonstrates another way in which the police officers of Florida are there to respond to the public in their time of need.

Commenting in their Facebook post, the Clearwater PD had this to say:

"Officer Matheny had to put her hands on this rascally reptile to bring it under control. You never know what kind of creatures and critters lurk in the night."

Red-tailed boas—also known as common boas—are a type of boa constrictor that is more commonly found in Central and South America. When living in the wild they are known to grow as long as 13 feet, but more usually they grow to around 8 feet in length. They are non-venomous and instead, constrict (or squeeze) their prey to disable it.

Police apprehend gators as well as snakes

It's not just snakes that Florida's police officers are occasionally called upon to apprehend.

In May of last year, officers in Charlotte County, were called after residents of a private residence were disturbed by the sound of someone or something tearing through the screen of their porch recently. When they investigated the disturbance, they were confronted by the scene of an 11-foot, 550-pound gator taking a dip in their pool.

In another 2022 episode, an 8-foot gator was discovered swimming in the pool of an unoccupied home in Venice, FL. A local pool service firm got more than it bargained for when it was called to help remove the reptile.

Florida's snake problems

In August of this year, the annual Florida Python Challenge will be launched. The 2022 event was held between August 5-14, 2022, and was launched by Governor Ron DeSantis.

The competition gives registered members of the public the chance to compete to win thousands of dollars in prizes by removing invasive Burmese pythons from the wild. 

The competition is open to both professional and novice participants and during the 2021 event, 600 people from 25 states took part, catching and removing 223 Burmese pythons from the Everglades.

Burmese pythons aren't native to Florida, breed prolifically and prey on many native species, hence why there's a desire to reduce their numbers. Over 16,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida's ecosystem since 2000.

While Boa Constrictors aren't as invasive as Burmese Pythons, it is likely that the reptile apprehended in Clearwater was an escaped pet or descended from one.

Have you encountered snakes in the wilds of Florida? Would you keep one as a pet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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