It was supposed to be just a regular weekend game of golf for three friends, until they came upon a strange scenario – a snake in the process of eating a green iguana whole.
‘When we got towards a green the iguana’s head was in the snake’s mouth and by the time we finished playing the hole it had half of it in its mouth and then it dragged it off into the bushes,’ said local resident James Robinson, who witnessed the spectacle on Britannia Golf Course on Saturday afternoon with friends Keith Nicholson and Rob Holmes.
‘I was gob-smacked. My friends didn’t believe me until they saw it,’ said Mr. Robinson, who took photos of the snake swallowing the iguana on his phone, which are now circulating via email.
He estimated the snake to be about two metres in length.
It turns out that the snake is a unique indigenous sub-species.
‘It’s a Cayman Racer, which is endemic,’ explained Director of the Department of Environment Gina Ebanks-Petrie.
While she said she was quite surprised to see the photos of the snake swallowing the iguana, she said there is certainly no cause for alarm and the snake is non-venomous.
‘It’s definitely a local snake. The iguana is obviously not local and we’re glad something is eating them because to be honest they are turning into a bit of a nuisance,’ she said.
Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie explained that the Racer is found nowhere else in the world. In fact, unique subspecies of the Racer are present on each of the three Islands.
‘They can get up to four to five feet long and can look quite scary,’ she said.
‘They flatten their head as a defence response so they can resemble a cobra.’
However, she emphasised that the Cayman Racer snake is not dangerous and poses absolutely no threat to people.
‘They tend to be quite shy,’ she said.
Senior Research Officer with the DoE Mat DaCosta-Cottam said that the one pictured looks to be as large as any he has seen – maybe larger.
‘We usually see them much smaller than this, maybe two feet in length. Many are killed by cats and dogs, and run over when they are still young, so very few survive to reach this large size.’
Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie noted DoE believes the population does not appear to be in any trouble.
‘We want to make sure we don’t lose them because they are a special sub-species that only we have,’ she said.