Residents warned of large boa constrictor on the loose in Sydney

A large adult boa constrictor is believed to be on the loose in western Sydney after a huge “freshly shed” snake skin was found wrapped around the beams of a construction site.

Residents of the Cascades Estate complex in Silverdale were sent letters by the NSW Government, warning them of the alarming find.

“NSW government has reason to believe there is an adult boa constrictor snake ‘at large’ in or around the Cascades Estate,” the letter said.

The shed snake skin is thought to belong to 2.5m-long boa constrictor. It was found in Cascades Estate in Silverdale, Sydney. Source: Australian Snake Catchers

“A freshly shed snake skin was found at a property on Torumba Circuit on 9 October 2019, NSW government is in the process of trying to locate and capture the animal and is requesting the residents be on the lookout for it and to report any sightings.”

It is illegal to keep the boa constrictor, a species native to Central and South America, in Australia due to the threat is poses to both wildlife and humans. While not venomous, the snake is considered dangerous through the method it uses to kill its prey –– as its name suggests.

The NSW Government's letter to Cascades Estate resident, warning them about the boa constrictor 'at large' in the area. Source: Australian Snake Catchers

Professional snake handler Sean Kade said that judging by the snake’s shed skin, the animal was approximately 2.5m in length.

The average length of the species –– which is considered the world’s largest –– is 3m.

“Any sightings of the snake should be swiftly reported,” Mr Kade wrote on the Australian Snake Catchers Facebook page.

“We have been out to the property and conducted an extensive search of the surrounding area.

“Do not attempt to capture this snake.”

The shed snake skin which was found in Cascades Estate last week. Source: Australian Snake Catchers

The Department of Primary Industries shared similar sentiments, urging residents not to approach the large snake and to immediately contact the Department of Invasive Species.

According to the department’s website boa constrictors “can represent a threat to humans, particularly small children, as well as domestic pets”.

“It may impact on agricultural activities and it is known to threaten species of amphibians, birds, lizards, snakes and bats” the DPI added.

The boa constrictor is considered the world's largest snake species with an average length of 3 metres. Source: Getty Images, file photo

“The Boa constrictor’s jaws are lined with small, hooked teeth which are used for grabbing and holding prey while it is wrapped around and suffocated by the snake.

“Boa constrictors feed on a wide variety of vertebrates including small mammals, birds and their eggs, small lizards and occasionally amphibians with larger sized Boa constrictors able to feed on larger animals.”

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