A snake measuring some six feet was discovered Monday in a vehicle at Babonneau, the Forestry Department says.
Senior Wildlife Protection Officer, Pius Haynes, said the department received the report of a snake in a vehicle at a garage in Paix Bouche, Babonneau.
Haynes told St Lucia Times that the Forestry Department’s investigations revealed that the vehicle had been taken from Anse La Raye to Babonneau for routine repairs and maintenance.
He said when the vehicle was inspected, a boa constrictor was discovered in the engine compartment near the suspension area.
“They called forestry and we were able to get the boa,” he said.
According to Haynes, the reptile was released into the wild.
The Wildlife Protection Officer explained that the boa is a protected species.
Haynes described the snake as measuring some six feet, which he indicated was medium size.
The Forestry Department official told St Lucia Times that the Babonneau incident highlights the fact that people can inadvertently transport reptiles and other animals from one location to another.
He explained that in the Babonneau incident, the boa was in its natural habitat in Anse La Raye before someone inadvertently transported it.
“Reptiles are attracted to sources of heat because they are cold-blooded and so a warm engine on a cold day or a cold night would attract them, so this is how the boa got into the engine compartment in the first place,” Haynes noted.
He recalled that there have been instances where the boa and the venomous fer de lance have been transferred from their natural habitat into other areas.
“We have had them being transferred from Anse La Raye via the extraction of pumice into Bocage – this happened earlier this year,” Haynes told St Lucia Times.
He also mentioned that a boa was last year transferred from Millet to Union.
Haynes commended the garage owner who alerted the Forestry Department about the boa in the vehicle, since the instinctive reaction of some people is to kill a snake on sight.
He said the incident highlighted the need for the Forestry Department to do continuing public education.
Haynes also advised people who live in areas that are the natural habitats of snakes, such as Anse La Raye, Canaries and Millet, especially if it’s close to a forest or bushy area, to conduct a cursory inspection of machinery and vehicles for the presence of reptiles.
He told St Lucia Times this could prevent the relocation of snakes and the formation of new populations of the reptiles in areas outside of where they would normally be found.
Headline photo caption: Screen grab from video posted on social media