On Snakey’s trail in Swarthmore, but we couldn’t find the 7-foot boa constrictor either

 A sign on the front door of Snakey's house lets emergency workers know that the boa constrictor is not a threat. (Zack Seward/WHYY)

A sign on the front door of Snakey's house lets emergency workers know that the boa constrictor is not a threat. (Zack Seward/WHYY)

We’re here in Swarthmore, Pa., on the trail of a 7-foot-long boa constrictor that goes by the name ‘Snakey.’

He’s been on the lam since Sunday evening, reported to the police the following day. He’s the pet of a veterinarian who specializes in pet psychology

If you see Snakey, call 911. “We’ll send somebody out to respond and take the appropriate action,” said Swarthmore police chief Brian Craig.

“It does not appear to be a threat to people,” Craig added.

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The department is not conducting an active snakehunt, though it will follow any leads it may get. Craig mentioned a phone call Thursday from someone in Northeast Philadelphia about a big snake, but he’s pretty sure it’s unrelated.

Snakey’s owner, David Spiegel, the vet, told NewsWorks partner NBC10 that his snake is friendly. “When it’s summertime we give him the privilege of being outside among nature,” Spiegel told NBC10.

This reporter reached out to Spiegel multiple times, but was told Spiegel was not available for comment.

Craig, the police chief, says people shouldn’t panic. He says the boa is not as lethal as a python that recently killed two young boys in Canada. Still, Craig says, nearby residents with small pets should be on the lookout.

One of those people is Pat Perrone. She was walking her two small dogs less than a block from where Snakey was last spotted.

“I’m definitely keeping an eye out,” Perrone said.

She and other passersby expressed concern over Snakey being on the loose. Perrone says things like this have happened before.

“We had a neighbor who just walked over and put Snakey around his neck and walked him home,” Perrone said with a laugh. “My husband was quite shocked.”

The DelCo Daily Times reported that Snakey once ventured onto the campus of Swarthmore College. A College employee reportedly captured the snake in a pillowcase.

There’s nothing on the books that says keeping a massive boa constrictor is against the law in Swarthmore. A few people I spoke with said maybe that should be reconsidered.

“That he lets his snake out in the sun, I’m not that comfortable with,” said Sarah, a near neighbor who preferred not to share her last name. “He just checks on him periodically? I don’t think that’s the most responsible thing.”

“We’re living life as usual,” she added. “Except at night, when it’s time to take the compost out.”

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