Fairbanks shelter seeks home for abandoned boa constrictor

Posted: Monday, February 21, 2000

FAIRBANKS - It may not have the appeal of a puppy or kitten, but workers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter say an abandoned boa constrictor is gentle, easy-going and looking for a good home.

The 6-foot snake was found last week in a footlocker in an empty apartment by a maintenance worker. The tenants had recently moved, but management at the complex isn't sure if the snake belonged to them.

If the owner doesn't claim the snake, the boa will be put up for adoption Thursday, shelter workers said.

Boa constrictors are nonvenomous and native to tropical regions. In Alaska, especially Fairbanks, the snakes depend on human caretakers to make sure they stay warm.

Laura Hood, manager of the Division of Animal Control, said such effort can make snakes difficult to adopt out.

``These snakes grow really fast and a lot of people aren't prepared or equipped to take care of one,'' she said.

There is hope though. Vikki McKlveen, a veterinary technician at Aurora Animal Clinic, is a reptile enthusiast and is confident a home will be found for the boa.

``It's just a sad situation. It's sad for the snake, it's irresponsible of the people,'' McKlveen said. ``If you can't take care of it, don't get it. They're not disposable.''

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