Reporting Bill Hudson
STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — It was still dark at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday morning when Paul Kiolbasa opened his patio door and stepped onto the deck.
“And I walked out and saw something dark laying across the deck and I had no idea what it was,” he said.
That object was no fallen tree branch or wadded up beach towel as Kiolbasa first suspected. Those items don’t move when you touch them.
“So I went – whoa,” Kiolbasa said, with a look of utter surprise.
Turns out what he was staring at was an eight-pound, 5-foot long common boa constrictor, a snake that is native to South America. It was wrapped between the deck’s railings, stretching up the stairs and onto the deck floor.
He soon went to wake his wife Camille with the shocking news.
“I absolutely thought I was dreaming,” she said, “just absolutely huge, never seen anything like it.”
Two of the couple’s three children were still sleeping when the discovery was made but soon made their way onto the deck to see what the fuss was.
“I don’t know, I thought it was pretty cool,” his son Eddie said. “I sort of wanted to keep it.”
Mom and dad had other ideas. Their initial call was to the local Stillwater Police.
“They thought somebody was playing a prank on us and said are you sure it’s real? Oh yeah, it’s real, it’s moving,” Camille said.
The Department of Natural Resources was called and referred the police and the Kiolbasa’s to a reptile expert with the Minnesota Herpetological Society.
Enter Sarah Richard, who is the society’s adoption chairperson. With the help of an assistant, Richard was able to capture the extremely strong boa and place it into a bag for safe transport.
“He’s had a rough day today,” Richard said, as she takes the boa out of the bag to show cameras.
Richard’s group finds homes for abandoned reptiles and amphibians. This one has all the signs of being someone’s pet.
She points to some discoloration on the snake’s nose, an indication it has poked its head through the bars of a steel reptile cage.
“Once you get a snake like this that knows it can get out, it’s hard to keep it in the cage — they prefer to be elsewhere,” she said.
For Paul and Camille, they’d prefer that elsewhere is anywhere but here.
“It was actually pretty docile, that wasn’t a problem,” he said.
The Minnesota Herpetological Society will adopt the snake out unless an owner steps forward to claim the animal by Sept. 6.