A sad, yet preventable accident out of Nebraska - a man was killed this week by his pet boa constrictor (generic boa photo at left). Every now and then there are stories like this in the press and though it's unfortunate, it could have been prevented. The man was killed after showing the snake to neighborhood kids and educating them about the care of large snakes.
The boa that killed the 34-year old man was about 8 ft. long and weighed around 30 lbs. Boa constrictors are some of the most docile snakes to own - very rarely biting, gorgeous, and are very easy to keep. I know this from years of experience keeping my own 8 ft. boa constrictor named "Doc" and also raising a couple young boas.
According to reptile experts and also Dr. David Visser from the Roseland Animal Hospital, the snake didn't intentionally kill it's owner (snakes simply aren't that clever). What most likely happened (and the usual reason owners have accidents like this) is the large snake was around the man's neck, lost its balance/began to slide off, or didn't feel secure being there, and tightened its grip to feel more safe - thus choking the man.
Snake experts agree snakes over 6 ft. long should not be held unless there are two people around. Boas and pythons are incredibly strong and are solid muscle. If an 8ft. boa is wrapped around something, it's almost impossible for one person to uncoil the snake. They make great pets but you need to be educated to deal with them (like most pets).
This week's accident is just that, a sad accident.
Now when it comes to owning venomous snakes, that is a different story. Dealing with those is like playing a deadly game of Russian roulette.