By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN No, it wasn’t a joke.
When Lorraine Statema saw a 5-foot-plus boa constrictor in her garden Aug. 2 just after 1:30 p.m., she thought someone was playing a joke on her.
“Then, when I looked the second time, his tongue came out, and I knew it was no joke,” she said. She went to the phone in her garage and dialed 911.
“When the cops came, I told them to shoot it, but they said they couldn’t because Delano has no discharge of firearms,” Statema said.
Wright County deputies made contact with the City of Delano public works staff, who came and took possession of the snake.
“They brought a cat carrier,” Statema said, with a laugh. “I said, ‘it’ll never fit in that.’ Then they went and got a dog kennel; then, I said, ‘I had a garbage can.’”
Tim Schrupp of the public works staff was able to get the snake into the garbage can, and another public works employee kept the lid on it until they got the snake back to the shop.
“He (the snake) really put up a fuss when they tried to get it out of there (the garden),” Statema said. “I said, ‘I don’t care if you pull out all the flowers, just get it out of there.’”
Statema noticed a goose decoy she has in her yard as a decoration that had been knocked over. When she went to pick it up, she noticed the not-so-sneaky snake.
Delano Public Works Director Ernie Eden said, sometimes, people will flush smaller reptiles down the toilet, but he said, “never a 6-foot boa constrictor.”
Local authorities believe the snake may have been a pet that had been abandoned, and are following up on several leads to see who the snake’s owner may have been.
Statema, who spends 20 to 25 hours per week in her gardens working on her plants when it’s not too hot or humid, said she has seen small snakes once in a while, but never anything like this. She has lived at her Third Street North residence since 1988.
She said the snake was just laying there, like ‘this is where I belong.’”
Statema said she feels the snake could have been in her yard for up to a week.
“I have a squirrel cage and that was also knocked over,” she said.
Boa constrictors can grow up to 13 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds, according to National Geographic. Their jaws are lined with small, hooked teeth for grabbing and holding prey while they wrap their muscular bodies around their victim, squeezing until it suffocates. Boas will eat almost anything they can catch. Their jaws can stretch wide to swallow large prey whole.
Statema said she isn’t too scared of snakes, because they will eat bugs.
“I don’t mind them,” she said. “The only thing that bothered me was after they said they could strangle or choke you because they wrap around. I did have a toad on my steps, but then the toad disappeared, so maybe the snake had breakfast.”
The snake was taken to the Delano Public Works building, where Schrupp and his coworkers made calls and attempted to find someplace for it to go. It eventually made its way to a humane society in the west metro. Statema is just glad it is out of her yard.
“Everybody says it never would have made it through the winter and I sure wasn’t going to take it in,” she said with a laugh.
The snake also made it to the big-time when the incident was mentioned by Delano native Terri Traen during her KQRS Radio show last week.
“I didn’t sleep much Tuesday night,” Statema admitted with a laugh. “Every time I shut my eyes, I could see that stupid thing.”