Ratbite Redford, an adult red tail boa constrictor is now safely recovering at the Phoenix Herpetological Society after being rescued from a Scottsdale golf course with wounds covering its back.
The nonprofit animal center received a rescue call on the evening of May 7 of what golfers thought was a 6-foot python.
When rescuers arrived, they found about a 6-foot male red tail boa with multiple injuries across his back, covered in gas station napkins secured by tightly wrapped tape.
After a visit to the veterinary, it has been determined that the injuries resulted from the previous owner feeding the snake a live rat, but not removing the rat after the snake refused it.
“This rat must have been in there with that snake for multiple days,” said Phoenix Herpetological Society Director of Education and Outreach, Crystie Baker in a May 11 phone interview. “We would guess — we have no way to prove it — that he chewed on him.”
The owners should have removed the rat after the snake didn’t eat it, and tried to feed it to him at the next feeding time, said Ms. Baker. At PHS, animals are frozen and then thawed out before being fed to reptiles — in part to prevent safety issues such as this one.
The snake, who has since been named Ratbite Redford, will now be receiving daily treatments from PHS staff for the next year.
“The animal is really lucky the people on the golf course saw him when they did,” said Ms. Baker. “It’s a red tail boa — he doesn’t belong here. If he did survive the summer, he wouldn’t have survived the winter.”
The boa’s natural habitat would be in Central America in a partially-aquatic environment, said Ms. Baker.
“It will heal as a scare tissue, and he will still shed his skin,” said Ms. Baker. “If he begins to shed his skin, those pieces will be missing so it will be very hard for him to do that and we may have to assist him with that.”
Ratbite Redford has a very sweet personality, says Ms. Baker, and feels the snake understands they are providing help to him.
“They had wrapped him with just gas station napkins and adhesive tape,” she said. “It was wrapped really tight, you could just tell – he took a deep breath when I took it off.”
Now, he is up for virtual adoption on the PHS website, www.phoenixherp.com. More than one person can adopt Ratbite Redford through the website and all payments are tax-deductible.
“Considering he already has vet bills pilling up, he would be a good adoption candidate,” said Ms. Baker.
After recovery, Ratbite Redford will continued to live at the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
“He will probably become an educational animal just because of his story and his will to live. His attitude has been great,” said Ms. Baker.
While injured animals don’t come to PHS often, it does happen said Ms. Baker. More frequently, reptile owners just surrender their pet to the center for an inability to care for the animal.
“What does happen all the time is people get a pet and don’t realize how big it’s going to get, what it needs to eat, what kind of enclosure it will need,” said Ms. Baker. “What we get is the people bring their animals to us. That’s an every day thing.”
The Phoenix Herpetological Society asks that anyone who recently abandoned or saw someone abandoning a red tail boa constrictor near Tatum and Cactus Roads to contact the Arizona Humane Society immediately.