MASSENA Todd P. Goolden had never seen a snake in his 18 years of living in the same Massena neighborhood.
That changed Thursday evening with reports of multiple slithering reptiles, which brought village police to Marie Street three times.
That is no grass snake, Mr. Goolden said as he recalled the nights events. It looked just like a boa. Ive seen enough TV programs.
The snakes were still at large late Friday afternoon, and police were urging anyone who saw the creatures to immediately call them at 769-3577.
Chief Timmy J. Currier urged the public to exercise caution, and asked anyone who is missing a pet snake to contact police.
Mr. Goolden had just finished a walk around the neighborhood with his 6-year-old twins about 9 p.m. Thursday when he noticed a group of children gathered at Northview Drive and Marie Street.
One of the girls in the group, which was heading to nearby Stewarts for ice cream cones, chased a 5-foot-long snake into the bushes of a neighbors front yard, he said. It was a gray-red color with spots on it.
I grabbed my twins and put them behind me, he said.
Another neighbor, Mark Mittiga, was walking his dog at the time, saw the commotion and called police. I think its somebodys pet, to be honest with you, Mr. Mittiga said.
The police found nothing.
Then, Mr. Gooldens daughter, Maddison, wearing flip-flops, noticed what looked like a stick in the driveway.
A smaller snake, 2 ½ feet long, slithered over her feet. She and her mother screamed, and Mr. Goolden called the police.
I had my sons scooter in my hand. I hit it a couple of times with my scooter, he said.
The snake slithered into the same bushes where the big one went.
The police came and again found nothing. They left and Mr. Goolden, his family safely inside by that point, saw a third snake in his driveway, of a similar length to the second one.
It raised its head and stared at him. Confronting it, he said he grabbed it by the tail but it got away.
Police, arriving a third time, found that same snake but couldnt catch it.
Mr. Goolden said he was not scared by the creatures because adrenaline was running through him and he wanted to protect his children. He stayed outside until 1 a.m. Friday with an iPad, researching information on snakes and watching the movie Anaconda.
He is convinced the snakes he saw were boa constrictors. Boas hunt by wrapping themselves around their prey, killing it, but are not venomous like cobras or rattlesnakes, according to the San Diego Zoo website.
Friday night, Mr. Goolden planned to meet his friend, crack open a few beers and find the snakes.
He didnt want to kill the creatures, just capture them and set them free in the wild or return them to their owner.
Tonights the night, he said. Tonights the big snake hunt.