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Deadly Fer de Lance snake reportedly captured in Soufriere (see video)

By MERRICK ANDREWS, St. Lucia News Online staff reporter/editor

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A captured image from the video

A local video has surfaced on social media showing an unidentified man displaying a dead seven-foot long Fer de Lance snake. SEE VIDEO BELOW ARTICLE

The video, uploaded by ‘Raddac Radigan on Facebook at 7:18 p.m., Tuesday, May 21, is captioned “Fer de Lance Snake caught in Fond St. Jacque, Soufriere”.

Called the Saint Lucia viper, Saint Lucia Fer de Lance (Bothrops caribbaeus) and serpent, this snake is one of four species of snakes found on the island, according to a March 14, 2017 St. Lucia News Online article, written by Jeannette Victor of the Forestry Department.

The color of the skin varies from yellow, light grey, dark grey but the head is the same triangular or lance shape, Victor said, adding that their diet includes small birds and mammals — not humans.

A number of snake sightings have been reported on island since the start of the year. The most common sightings are that of the Saint Lucia Boa.

WHERE IS THE FER DE LANCE FOUND?

Victor stated that the Fer de Lance snakes are often found along the western communities of Anse La Raye, Canaries, Millet and the eastern communities of Dennery and Praslin.

“They may occur in other places by means of flooding, being transported unknowingly on a vehicle or in search of food,” Victor wrote.

PROTECTED SPECIES?

Fer de Lance is not one of the protected species but it is illegal to kill them “within the forest reserve,” Victor said.

“The four snakes that inhabit this land all bear the name of our country Saint Lucia,” she said “The Saint Lucia Fer de Lance, Saint Lucia Boa, Saint Lucia Racer and the Saint Lucia Thread snake are all endemic species, which means they can only occur naturally here. They have been here for eons but the law protects only the Saint Lucia Boa, Saint Lucia Racer and Saint Lucia Thread snake, so it is illegal to kill them.

The Fer de Lance species may also hold research value, according to the official.

“The full potential of this species have not been explored. We have yet to know the medicinal values of the venom,” Victor said.

WHAT TO DO IF BITTEN

A bite from the snake is potentially deadly if not treated in the right way and on time. Several persons in Saint Lucia are known to have died, over the years, after being bitten by the Fer de Lance.

Victor said a bite from this snake can be prevented by remaining vigilant in the areas the snake is known to frequent, wearing protective gear, such as boots and snake chaps, when venturing out.

She also gave advice on what to do when bitten.

“In case of a bite, stay calm and get to the Victoria Hospital (VH) as soon as possible to be treated with the anti-venom available there. If possible, call ahead so that VH can prepare for your arrival. DO NOT interfere with the bite in any way. Do not suck on it or bandage it as this may make the situation worse. Most persons make a 100 per cent recovery if they are treated within three hours or less,” Victor wrote.

Below is a video of the snake, without audio. If you would like to view a video with audio, please CLICK HERE

 

 

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3 comments

  1. several people have already died on snake bites in St.Lucia. still, Government putting the life of a snake higher then a ordinary St.Lucian !?!???
    only a dead snake is a good snake, or can anyone proof it is beneficial to find them on the island ?

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  2. I think we in St. Lucia can revive our cocoa and coffee productions by keeping track of what Columbia is doing. Something can be done here, we have a good coffee and cocoa varieties here on the island. Just as Pralin can export Sea moss, then some other area grows bananas, another grows coffee and another cocoa, all for export. It would be employment for some of our youth and another way to contribute to our GDP.

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  3. In a push to raise coffee output, Colombia's south may hold key

    By Julia Symmes Cobb and Ayenat Mersie 4 hrs ago

    FLORENCIA, Colombia (Reuters) - Colombia's isolated south could be crucial to the country's push to expand coffee production by nearly 30 percent despite low global prices, its growers federation says, as farmers seek to ramp up productivity amid security improvements.
    Output in Colombia, the world's top grower of washed arabica, has hovered around 14 million 60-kg bags for four years as farmers battled extreme weather and low international prices, but the federation and the government have kept a medium-term 18 million bag goal.
    To reach the target, the federation is preaching a gospel of productivity: touting tree renovation - which helped boost yields 30 percent in the last decade - and fertilization as a way to raise incomes without more land.
    Additional coffee from Colombia, a country known for producing high-quality and sought-after beans, would find a home as global demand continues to grow, traders say.
    But it remains to be seen if the target is achievable any time soon, as growers grapple with climate change and futures prices so dire - having hit 13.5-year lows last month - that Colombia has floated the idea of untethering from the benchmark New York futures.
    Little-known patches of coffee in the south could be key to reaching the goal, the federation says. Production in the isolated region has long been hampered by Colombia's internal conflict and transportation difficulties.

    In the 1990s, in the midst of the five-decade conflict, there were some 11,000 hectares (27,200 acres) of coffee in Caqueta, but the boom in coca helped cut that to 2,500 hectares. It has now recovered to around 4,000 hectares.
    Though armed groups generally allowed federation advisors to visit farms, there were no-go areas where growers did not get training or help for years.
    That changed as security improvements took hold and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels demobilized under a 2016 peace accord.
    Importers are already looking to former conflict areas like Caqueta for increased output.
    "A lot of new growth that could come from Colombia is in the areas that have been cut off, in former FARC areas," said Jacob Elster, chief executive of Crop to Cup Coffee Importers.
    "It's not unreasonable that with better agricultural practices and planting varietals with higher yields, you could almost get" to the target, Elster said.
    The federation now has five advisors in Caqueta and hopes that providing farmers with expertise, seeds and other supplies will help them boost productivity.
    Romulo Lozano, whose farm is a muddy 10-minute walk up a dirt path near Florencia, Caqueta's capital, hopes new techniques can increase his harvest.
    Breaking up packed dirt with his fingers, federation advisor John James Gomez freed the roots of a tree seedling and held the small plant up for Lozano's examination.
    "See how the roots are tangled? That means it should have already been replanted," Gomez said, as the two men stood on a forested hillside.
    Some farms remain so rural it takes advisors more than a day to reach them, making transporting supplies like fertilizer prohibitively expensive.
    Lozano, a 46-year-old former mechanic, returned to work the family farm after his father fell ill. He wants to replant hundreds of trees in a fallow area where leaf rust - a fungus that damages flowering - forced him to uproot coffee plants a few years ago.
    He thinks replanting would double or even triple production from 250 pounds of beans per year.
    "We've always had crops but without all the techniques that the federation teaches," said Lozano. "We're waiting to see the results."
    NEW TREES, SAME CHALLENGES
    Global coffee retail volumes are set to grow by 8.5% between 2019 and 2023, according to Euromonitor International, a market research provider.
    "There's a need for coffee to be produced to feed the increasing demand," said Rodrigo Costa, director of trading at COMEXIM USA. "An increase in productivity would lower the cost of production."
    Getting farmers to replace at least 10 percent of their trees annually is vital, said Carlos Mario Charry, who heads the federation's Caqueta office. So is planting disease-resistant trees.
    The federation replanted 82,000 hectares (200,000 acres) last year. The government and national coffee fund have pledged more than $15 million in renovation aid for farmers.
    The efforts to make output gains through productivity and not an expansion of crop area get high marks from environmentalists.
    Encouraging farmers to replace trees can safeguard rainforest even as demand grows over the coming decades, Conservation International's Bambi Semroc said. But while farmers welcome the federation's help, many remain focused on surviving low prices. Obanefer Gonzalez, 57, who has 10,000 trees on a plot near Florencia, wants help offsetting the high fertilizer costs.
    "The dream is just to maintain our crops."
    (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb in Florencia and Ayenat Mersie in New York; Editing by Helen Murphy, Daniel Flynn, and Marguerita Choy)

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