The Beautiful
Jamaican Boa Snake

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The Jamaican Boa or yellow snake - as we call it, lives primarily in our limestone areas. According to NEPA, it can also be found in dry scrub lands forests of the southern coasts.

It's average length is about 2 meters or 6 feet, 6 inches. It is at a very high risk of extinction and therefore has been designated an endangered specie.

Contrary to many popular belief, this gorgeous snake is not poisonous - meaning it is not a threat to us humans.

I must point this out as many of us - including myself in the past, dreadfully feared this beautiful creature and, typical of adventurous young boys, celebrate the killing of an innocent young one - or any other snake.

We ran into quite a few back in my little rural district in Westmoreland.

Whatever we could find we used to corner it, kill it and pound it! Sometimes we would even walk around with it as some sort of victory parade.

Thankfully, I am older and wiser now!

I learned that not only is this snake not a threat to us, it may be highly beneficial to us!

In addition to the birds and other small animals, rats forms a decent part of its diet, and we all know the impact rats can have on the produce of farmers right?

So to the farmers rescue... the Jamaican Boa! :-)

On a more serious note though, the survival of this beautiful snake is threatened because of deforestation, the burning of the sugar cane fields and still, the false belief that they are dangerous to us.

There are a few initiatives however to stem these realities. According to Nepa it is protected under the following laws and conventions:

  • Listed under Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered species of Wild Fuana and Flora.
  • Hunting in Forest reserves is also prohibited under the Forest Act (1996).
  • Listed as a Protected species under the Wild Life protection Act (1945).

Laws are good, however, it will take more education and awareness to ensure that we protect this attractive and rare gift.

By the way, its scientific name, according to Wikipedia, is Epicrates Subflavus, how could I miss that?


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