By Gary Taylor
The Orlando Sentinel
DELAND, Fla. - If you're missing a 5-foot boa constrictor, DeLand police may have your snake.
The department took custody of the wayward serpent after receiving a frantic call from a woman who was afraid to get into her car because she had seen the snake crawl under the vehicle's wheel well.
Sgt. Chris Estes, Officer T. J. Petrella plus Animal Control Officer Gary Thomas responded to the woman's call Friday at East Howry Avenue in downtown DeLand.
"Officer Petrella held the back half of the snake's body while Sgt. Estes untangled the front part of the snake's body from the vehicle's coil springs," the police report stated. "The plan went well until Estes freed the snake and released the snake's head."
That's when Thomas joined in the effort and suffered two minor bites to his hand as he attempted to cage the serpent.
"It was a little agitated," Estes said Monday, but added, "It wasn't even an aggressive bite; it was a `just let me go' bite."
Estes, a snake enthusiast since he was a kid, said he took the snake home and will keep it unless someone steps forward to claim it.
Sometimes people get tired of snakes or are unable to keep them and turn them loose, he said. But more often than not, the snakes escape because they were not properly secured, he said.
Snake calls are pretty common, said Estes, who has been with the department for 19 years.
He theorized that the snake had been on its own for quite some time or was underfed by its owner.
"It was a nice hot day, which means it [the snake] was real active and real fast," he said.
Copyright 2007 The Orlando Sentinel
5-foot-boa resists arrest in Fla.