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(SNO) — Following news that a large boa constrictor was discovered at the Water and Sewerage Company Inc. (WASCO) compound at Union, many persons have expressed concern on social media that snakes, particularly the boa, appear to be leaving their natural habitat and moving closer to human-populated areas.
The six-foot long non-venomous snake was reportedly spotted on the WASCO site by a passerby on Tuesday night, Feb. 5. A video clip of the encounter was then posted on social media.
WASCO, on Wednesday morning, had the reptile removed from under a large concrete slab on the premises by a wildlife official.
Since then, a number of persons have taken to social media to discuss the news, with several revealing that sightings of snakes near human-populated areas are increasing.
linah Tafari wrote that snakes have also been seen in Savannes Bay and Belle Vue, questioning why snakes are leaving their natural habitat.
“On a serious note… why are so many snakes/boas leaving their natural habitats and being found in places they’re not supposed to be?… I’m hearing some being found in Savannes Bay, Belle Vue, Union… what’s causing this?… I remember there was a time we were told they were close to becoming extinct but now the creepy crawlies are everywhere…. I hope the Fer De Lance not migrating too,” she wrote on the popular group page, St. Lucians Aiming for Progress (SLAPS).
Allison Fedee responding to her post, saying, “They’re looking for warmth… It’s been very cold lately and these snakes are looking for places that are ideal.”
Looking for warmth was also the response local wildlife officials have given the media regarding the main reason for the relocation of the snakes from their natural habitats.
It appears however that some persons are not convinced that the snakes are moving because they’re looking for warmth.
“Just a few days ago I was saying to someone that the snakes are confined to certain areas. Alas I was wrong,” Carlton Augustine said.
Davis Hippolyte expressed similar sentiments: “You have a good point there. Snakes are leaving their natural habitat and being found in places that are unusual. The forestry division must conduct a survey on this.”
Callixta Joseph added: “Hope they don’t come anywhere near my area. I’ll definitely be moving.”
Two other persons had another theory: humans destroying or disturbing the natural habitat of local wildlife.
Ambrose Adolph said: “I believe work on the Dam [John Compton Dam] is pushing them out of their natural habitat.”
Christopher Hunte said “too many contractors are moving large amounts of earth with no knowledge of the various habitat implications”.
Pius Haynes, a conservation officer with the Department of Forestry, told HTS that he believes the boa travelled to WASCO via a truck that is working at the dam in Millet
“…. We suspect that the boa was transferred on one of the trucks,” he said. “The truck was parked in Millet overnight. The boa, you know, looking for the warmth got under the truck, coiled up somewhere under the truck, and the truck came here… last night (Tuesday), and delivered some material.”
Haynes said overnight the snake would have “escaped” from the truck and “landed at the WASCO facility just across the river from us”.
He encouraged the public to contact the forestry department if they encounter or observe any wildlife in their vicinity. He said the officials will rescue the animals then release them back into their natural habitat, away from human-populated areas.
The boa constrictor, also called the red-tailed boa or the common boa, is a species of large, non-venomous, heavy-bodied snake that is frequently kept and bred in captivity, according to a Wikipedia article.
“The boa constrictor is a member of the family Boidae, found in tropical North, Central, and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean.
“The boa constrictor is a large snake, although it is only modestly sized in comparison to other large snakes, such as the reticulated python and Burmese python, and can reach lengths from 3–13 ft (0.91–3.96 m) depending on the locality and the availability of suitable prey.
“Clear sexual dimorphism is seen in the species, with females generally being larger in both length and girth than males. The usual size of mature female boas is between 7 and 10 ft (2.1 and 3.0 m) whereas males are 6 and 8 ft (1.8 and 2.4 m). Females commonly exceed 10 ft (3.0 m), particularly in captivity, where lengths up to 12 ft (3.7 m) or even 14 ft (4.3 m) can be seen,” the article further stated.