Jake the Snake has a new home, after being rescued last week near Lock and Dam 13 at Fulton.
The seven-foot-long boa constrictor, likely a pet – and one that may have been intentionally released – now belongs to with Maliki Wilkinson, of Marion, Iowa, who named him.
Logan Foster, 32, of Fulton, found the snake sunning itself on some rocks on July 23 in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, and snapped some pictures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a release on Oct. 3.
Foster sent photos around to several wildlife experts, but didn’t notify natural resource agencies.
Ed Britton, district manager of the refuge, said he learned about the snake from a retired Illinois Department of Natural Resources biologist who received a photo from Foster.
“He [Foster] didn’t know who to report the snake to,” Britton said.
Fish and Wildlife staff heard rumors the snake was in the Potter’s Marsh area of the refuge, and advised the Corps of Engineers staff to be on the lookout.
Mark Nettles, a Corps employee and, coincidentally, a snake buff, spotted the chilly, lethargic boa laying alongside the road near the dam as he was on his way to work, and loaded him into his truck bed.
After several calls trying to relocate the reptile, refuge staff found Don Becker, a snake rescuer and educator from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who then found Wilkinson.
Becker couldn’t determine Jake’s, or maybe Jackie’s, gender because the snake still is recovering from wounds received while outside.
It’s lucky he was captured – a boa would die a slow, painful death if exposed to Illinois’ harsh winter, the release said.