BRANSON, Mo. — Conservation experts recently spotted a red tail boa nearly freezing to death in Taney County at the Drury Mincy Conservation Area.
The Missouri Department of Conservation believes this is once again a former pet released into the wild.
After the snake was found and rescued from the cold, it was taken to a wildlife rehab center near Cassville, Missouri, to be treated.
Francis Skalicky, the media specialist for the southwest region of Missouri’s Department of Conservation, said the snake wasn’t rescued, it could have negatively impacted native species.
“Whatever the intention was, it’s not a good thing because that snake was not meant to be here. As I said, it’s a large predator on the landscape,” said Skalicky. “A lot of the things it would go after, ground nesting birds and things like that, have already challenges on the landscape so you don’t need to introduce another challenge.”
Back in the summer of 2020, a baby alligator was found in Lake Taneycomo. Both of these animals are not native to the area and more susceptible to cold temperatures.
“If you release reptiles or fish into the wild, they can carry diseases that are introduced into the wild,” said Skalicky.
Skalicky said people should contact their local animal control or shelter for more information on what to do with unwanted pets.
“Herpetological societies and pet stores,” said Skalicky. “You can make contacts with that so you can give it to them. They can find a home for it. You don’t need to release it in the wild.”
Local humane societies and rescue operations can also help people transfer a pet into a new home whether it is exotic or not.