Yikes! A Big Ole Boa Constrictor Is Slithering Around Sydney
In rather unsettling news, a Boa constrictor appears to be on the loose around Sydney's western suburbs.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) believes the adult snake is "at large" in or around the Cascades Estate in Silverdale.
The department wrote to residents in the area after a contractor found a 2.5-metre, freshly shed snake skin at a construction site on nearby Torumba Circuit on October 9.
"(The)NSW Government is in the process of trying to locate and capture the animal and is requesting that residents be on the lookout for it," the letter said.
The letter is dated October 11 but was handed out to residents on Monday.
Native to Central America, Boa constrictors bite and strangle their prey, and are a potentially fatal threat to both animals and humans.
They have been introduced to Australia, but are banned outside zoos in NSW.
Sean Kade, from Australian Snake Catchers, inspected the site where the snake skin was found and downplayed suggestions the sighting is "staged".
"There is speculation that it is staged, but upon inspection of the property, I noticed the slide marks," he said.
"So there actually is a snake of this size kicking around this area somewhere."
A NSW DPI spokesman on Monday said residents had been encouraged to report any snake sightings.
"Once located, a licensed snake catcher will be contracted to catch the snake and transport it to a specialist veterinarian," the spokesman said in a statement.
"The snake will be examined to determine where it came from, how long it has been in the area, what it has been eating, whether it's carrying any diseases of concern and whether it has produced offspring."
On its website, the DPI says Boa constrictors come in colour combinations including red, green, yellow and tan -- and generally display patterns on its body such as jagged lines, ovals, diamonds and circles.
The coloured patterns help to camouflage the snake under natural conditions, allowing it to evade detection and ambush its prey.