Snake found at Belair is harmless and protected by law
The snake found in the Belair area earlier this week is of the species ‘Corallus cookii’, also known as the St Vincent Treeboa or Congo snake.
Director of Forestry Fitzgerald Providence told SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday that the snake is not venomous and from the photograph, it appears to have had a rat for a meal and was resting when it was found.
The reptile, which is endemic to St Vincent is from the family ‘Boidae’. Although it is not venomous, it is a constrictor type snake which strangles its prey.
The Congo snake is protected by law and should not be killed.
Another Congo snake was found in the Buccament area in September 2010 and reported on by SEARCHLIGHT.
Providence said local Congo snakes can grow to a maximum of about 10 feet, but the angle of photograph of the one found at Belair gives a false impression of its size.
The Congo snake is active at night and rarely seen during the day.
Documentation provided by Providence to SEARCHLIGHT indicates that the local Congo snake can be identified by the hourglass-shaped pattern on the skin.
The diet of small Congo snakes consists almost exclusively of anoles, with larger snakes shifting to rodents. These snakes live mainly in lowlands, up to elevations of about 450 metres.
“They usually wouldn’t climb in windows but an insect window screen to protect us from disease carrying mosquitoes will prevent a snake getting in,” Providence said.
“The snake Corallus cooki is harmless to humans but will come around because they prey on rats,” he added.
According to “An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of St. Vincent, West Indies” by Michael L. Treglia, “Treeboas appear to have adjusted remarkably well to many human-mediated habitat alterations, and are very common in suburban gardens. One essential habitat feature is that tree canopies be contiguous.”
Providence said there is a similar species of snake, the ‘Corallus grenadensis’ which is endemic to the Grenadines. It comes in a yellow, red and greyish colour.