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11 Dec 2009

Carla! Get a Grip: Boas on the Patch

Posted by Lisette Stevens

boa_constrictor_pic1When we first lived in Dominica we were fascinated to learn about the wild life around our home!

Various people had mentioned the fact that Dominica has several species of snakes that are not poisonous – the biggest and longest being the Boa constrictor which can exceed 10′ on your domestic tape measure.

We live close by the Layou river and take enormous pleasure in taking to the waters each day through the summer months – and often ( brrrrr!) beyond . Some really interesting guys who own property bounded by the riverbank told us that there was a pair of Boa constrictors living close by in a large hole overlooking the rapids! The snakes apparently like to come out and sunbathe in the afternoon sun over the stones.

We on several occasions went to this spot when conditions were bright and lucid to look for these two huge snakes but they failed to show, so we took the hint and backed off.

Then a really strange occurrence happened:  We had a 10′ Boa constrictor that turned up and decided to live in a hollow tree by our drive.  Wow! What a huge beautiful snake, we named her Carla; her skin was the most amazing mix of browns and coppers, with deep purple tints that glittered in the sunshine.  Carla’s pleasure was to come out in the afternoons and lay full length catching the rays.

Carla was beautiful until she opened her mouth which showed razor sharp pin teeth slanting backwards; these were kind of scary and not nice to look at all, but she seemed to enjoy the fact she was able to lie nonchalantly with her mouth open.  No wonder she could kill vermin so effectively with those gnashers, plus the constricting factor that takes the victim out in a heartbeat – or rather the lack of it – eeeeeeeeek!!

Our friends live nearby in a tree house and had a very scary time one night!  They heard a thud on their tin roof and then a huge thwack thud onto the ground!  Their dogs were making a terrible noise.  Our friends got out of bed and hurried down below in time to see this enormous Boa constrictor rearing up attacking the dogs.  The snake had dug its bony tail into the ground, forming an anchor and was attacking everything within its range.  Boas are protected by law and our friends did not want to kill this aggressive visitor so they started to throw things at it to get it to vamoose.

In the end this copper brown serpent slithered off and all was saved; however, it was very nail biting stuff especially for my girlfriend who is terrified of anything snakelike. She feels this night visitor had actually been in the tree after their cat!  Both of them had noticed that the cat had been acting weird – and definitely frightened to go out – for a few days before the attack!

Needless to say our friends now check that there are no unwanted strangers in their tree before disappearing under the sheets!!!!!!!!

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