Snake sighting rattles spotters

Kurt Anderson, with the harmless ground boa he found. – PHOTOS: JEWEL LEVY

A snake found slithering along a road in downtown George Town alarmed people in the vicinity this week, but turned out to be a harmless ground boa.

Kurt Anderson bagged the snake and brought it to the Cayman Compass to be photographed and identified.

“I was walking into Archie’s Bar when I heard all the commotion,” he said. “Some people showed me the snake and told me to kill it.

“I said, no, I would take it to the Cayman Compass to let them take a picture of it and to let people know what we have on the island.”

Bradley Johnson, research officer at the Department of Environment, when shown the snake confirmed it was a Cayman ground boa, which is endemic to Cayman and non-poisonous.

He acknowledged that the ground boa is sometimes mistaken for a small rattlesnake.
Cayman ground boas are variable in body color, from pale (pictured above) through to light or very dark brown.

With a diamond pattern on its back and yellow colored tail, the harmless ground boa is sometimes confused with a baby rattlesnake. - PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY
With a diamond pattern on its back and yellow colored tail, the harmless ground boa is sometimes confused with a baby rattlesnake. – PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

The dark diamond patterns on their back and the pale cream or yellow on the tip of their tails lead some to think they resemble small rattlesnakes.

They are considered “dwarf snakes” and typically grow to 1 to 2 feet in length. They prey on frogs and small lizards.

Only four types of snakes – Cayman ground boas, Cayman racer snakes, Cayman water snakes and Cayman blind snakes – are endemic to Cayman, according to the Cayman Islands Department of Environment website, and none pose threats to people or pets.

In addition to Cayman’s native snakes, two other species have been introduced and are considered invasive species – the Brahminy blind snake and the corn snake.

The snake found by Mr. Anderson was later released into the wild.

2
0

NO COMMENTS