Large boa wrangled in North Port

Driving along Sumter Boulevard in North Port something caught the eye of a tow truck driver Tuesday afternoon.

"It is certainly unusual and I've lived here my whole life," said City Spokesperson Josh Taylor.

The tow truck driver pulled over and stopped.

He had just passed a snake, but he knew it didn't belong on the street because of its size and markings. The driver figured it was dangerous so he called North Port Police. When they saw the snake, they called Florida Fish and Wildlife.

"We are not experts when it comes to snakes. We want to get the experts out there. We want to make sure it is safe though in the meantime," explained Taylor.

When Fish and Wildlife got there, they called Zelph Ridgeway of Ridgeway Exotics in Port Charlotte.

He has worked with reptiles for 30 years and they needed his help identifying the type of snake.

"They are a strong snake. They have a big diamond shaped head," he told FOX 13.

Ridgeway told officials it was a red tail boa. The snake measured seven-feet.

Red tail boas are a common breed, available to buyers without needing a permit.

"They have  big square blocks on it, they're tan and they get about six to eight foot max," added Ridgeway.

The snakes aren't native to Florida and it shouldn't have been on a North Port right of way.

"It is very strong and looks like it was eating very well," he said.

Ridgeway believes the 10-year-old snake was a pet that escaped.

Recent rains could have forced it into public view.

"It has cooled down to 70-degrees when it rains. They come out on the roads because the asphalt is hot. They heat up quickly and then go back in the woods," he said.

Ridgeway explained this is an example of why snake owners need to properly care for their pets.

"That is the biggest problem we have today in the market of reptiles, is education and not keeping them in cages that will house them properly," he added.