All of the attention that a boa constrictor loose in Quincy got the past few weeks got us thinking, what else is out there?
Snakes aren't that uncommon in Quincy or Adams County, they rarely get out of their cages like the boa did.
As it turns out, snakes aren't the only exotic pets you'll find.
Quincy Animal Control Officer Mike Goehl never knows how his work day is going to go. He says everyday is different, and in his six and a half years in this job, he's gotten over the surprise of what his next call might be.
What are some of the most unique creatures you've picked up?
"I've actually gotten alligators from people here in town," says Goehl.
To make it worse, Goehl has picked up gators on two occasions.
How big were they?
"One was about two foot and the other was four. I worked on another that was a lot larger," says Goehl.
Alligators are considered illegal in the state of Illinois because they are listed as a dangerous animal. Adams County Animal Warden Jenny Benjamin tells me she's seen a lot too. She's picked up venomous snakes like copperheads, and even a cobra...also illegal to keep as a pet in Illinois.
What are some of your most unique finds?
"Marmoset monkeys," says Benjamin.
Tiny monkeys that aren't necessarily illegal to have, but they have to have the proper paperwork and health certificates. Benjamin also told me about a snake captured recently that would put the boa constrictor to shame. That's all I can tell you on that because it's part of an ongoing investigation. But last week when the boa was on the loose in Quincy, the county had its own situation.
"I got a call about a python getting out one time. I went to try and find it and found 20 other snakes besides the python in the guy's yard.
When was that?
"Last week," says Benjamin.
That snake wasn't as big, only four feet.
"Even if you do the best you can with these animals, there's always that possibility that things are going to go wrong. They are animals. All they know is I'm gonna bite you or I'm going to eat you, " says Goehl.
For the most part, both Goehl and Benjamin say the exotic animals that are kept as pets around here are cared for by responsible owners, so there shouldn't be a need for worry, unless you're the one who has to go handle these pets.
We also asked what happens to these animals that are confiscated.
Mike Goehl says on the illegal ones, it's a pretty quick process to get them into the hands of either the Conservation Department or Department of Natural Resources.
Both agencies have the ability to place exotic animals in places like a zoo.