Late in the evening of July 26th, 2011 a call was received at the Sanctuary from one of Teresa’s former Vet students now working at a clinic in Gonzales, Texas. She had just received a snake from animal control that had been injured. The extent of the injury was not known as the snake was contained in a dog crate and coiled up. The clinic did not “see” snakes so she called Teresa for advice.
The next day, Teresa and Frank drove to the clinic to assess the situation.
The story, as told by the animal control officer was, the boa had not been fed since January 2011, the owner had reached into the boa’s enclosure to change out it’s water bowl. The snake then struck her on the hand and coiled around her arm. The owner, fearing for her life called 911. When the first responders arrived they felt the only way to help the owner was to cut the snake’s head off. After the first responders severed all the muscles and tissues around the snake’s head but the scoots on the snake’s belly the snake released the owners hand and arm.
While Teresa was checking out the boa it wrapped it’s tail around her waist as if saying,” I WANT TO LIVE”! Teresa called the Texas A & M Zoo ward and talked with Sharman Hoppes, DVM. Phone pictures were sent to her and she said to bring the boa in and they would see what they could do.
Once the boa arrived at A & M a close examination reveled that the spinal cord, esophagus , trachea, and jugular were still intact. The spinal column was cut and the jugular had a nick in it. As the boa warmed up it began to bleed profusely from the nick in the jugular vein. Dr. Hoppes, and James Kusmierczyk, DVM with the assistance of Kasey Priebe, a fourth year vet student, began the task of stopping the bleeding and reattaching the boa’s head. Five hours later the repair work was completed. They even MATCHED the boa’s pattern. All there was to do now was to wait and see if the boa would survive her ordeal.
If you have the stomach for it, click on the below link and you will see the before, during and after pictures of the boa, now named Lucky Stars.
BE ADVISED, THESE PICTURES ARE VERY GRAPHIC.
It’s now March 2012, Lucky Stars is not only very much alive, but she is eating and gaining much needed weight. She is a very FRIENDLY nine foot boa. She eats every time frozen thawed food is offered, never striking or constricting her food, but taking it very gently.