Bill Morrow, a junior at Red Bay High School, has an unusual pet. He owns a Columbian boa constrictor named Sheba. When Morrow bought Sheba she was about a foot long. Now, at the age of five, Sheba is four-and-one-half feet long and about six inches around.
Morrow says his first experience with boas was when he was around 11 years old. He held one so long it wrapped around him several times. When visiting in Auburn later, he decided to get one.
“My mother used to be deathly afraid of Sheba,” Morrow said. “Now she feeds her and even holds her sometimes.”
Why did Morrow choose a snake as a pet?
“Why not a snake? She doesn’t bark, annoy you or stink. All she does is eat, sleep and climb.”
Morrow admits Sheba attracts attention. He did a dance with her one night at Redmont Skateland. She has also been with him to school several times for football practice and games.
Every two weeks Sheba is fed three or four rats, which Morrow buys at pet stores. She can swallow things 10 ties the size of her head.
“I’ve seen her swallow things so big I thought, no way! When she’s hungry, she’ll bite and hiss.”
Morrow said she’s not venomous and it doesn’t hurt when she bites. “It just scares me to death. I don’t see her coming. It’s like, ‘boom!’ and I see her pull back.”
Hardly ever is the snake let out. She once stayed lost in the house until found two weeks later in the gun cabinet.
Outside, she could get away very quickly. She could also be mistaken for a rattlesnake because of her markings.
Boas in the wild reach 19 or 20 feet in length, and have been known to kill and eat calves, pigs and big cats such as tigers. In captivity, they can reach 18 feet in length and live to be 40 years old.
Morrow says by the time one reaches that age in captivity it would need a room to itself.
When asked what he would do when Sheba reached that size, Morrow replied, “boots.”