San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Boa, That’s a Big Snake

Ah, tropical living. It has everything: piña coladas, swaying palms, rosy sunsets… the eight-foot-long boa wrapped around the engine block of your sport utility vehicle.
That’s what expatriate Jan Romeu found last week when she returned to her San Rafael de Escazú home, west of San José, after a short trip.
The water-pump repairman tipped her off to the snake’s presence after he saw it peering out at him from an opening.
“The guy says, ‘Lady, do you know you have a big snake in your car?’” Romeu said. “I thought he was joking. But he wasn’t.”
Lifting the hood, Romeu and her gardener found the fat boa resting comfortably around the engine. No problem. The gardener slipped on some leather gloves and went for the snake.
The boa was not pleased.
“It got mad” and bit at the gardener’s gloves, tearing a hole before it slipped away into a hollow space in the truck’s bumper, Romeu said.
So Romeu did what many people do when faced with an unorthodox and perplexing animal situation: She called the fire department.
Unfortunately, while Costa Rica’s bravest are trained to deal with Africanized killer bees and cats up trees, they had no idea what to do with an 8-foot boa constrictor hiding in the bumper of an SUV.
“By this time we were drawing crowds,” Romeu said, practically the entire condominium, so she dismissed the firefighters and called a mechanic.
Together, the mechanic and the gardener were able to disassemble the bumper and wheel well just enough to get hold of the snake’s tail and haul it out, inch by inch.
“It just kept coming,” Romeu said, “It was eight feet long” and “definitely not happy.”
The men managed to get the boa by the head and stuff it into a canvas sack, after which Romeu drove it out to her finca and released it.


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