Wait…what became of those snakes that were slithering around Barbados? Did somebody catch them? Did they die out? Did they disappear? Oh, I remember.
The next hot topic came along.
Source: BU Email
BU received an email from a person who pleaded with us to highlight that the large snakes which were discussed in all the media last year have not yet been found. Her concern centered around the type of snake which is on the lose – the boa constrictor which is known to have strangled or swallowed a small child. Someone once said that Barbadians have short memories and the snake story is a good example.
Here is a video of a boa constrictor (red tail) at work:
Remember that at the height of the public hysteria surrounding the snakes, people were calling a private citizen by the name of Damon Corrie to report on snake sightings. Corrie later became frustrated because government had not allocated adequate resources to equip him to find the snakes, and he scaled down his private manhunt. The government under the Ministry of the Environment, if we recall correctly, established a Task Force and a 24 hour hot line to respond to the concerns of the public. Corrie was included on the Task Force. After receiving the note from a concerned BU commenter, we decided to investigate the progress of the Task Force since its establishment around mid-2006. First, we had someone call the hotline number 467-5757; the call appeared to have been forwarded to a mobile number which was answered by someone in a very informal manner. Our caller was a little taken back by the response but moved on when the voice confirmed that he had reached the Task Force hotline number established to investigate snake sightings. The information which struck us for six was when the person representing the Task Force express annoyance, when we asked if any snakes had been captured recently and what was the Task Force doing to proactively catch the snakes. The person promptly stated that “yuh wuddah read um in de newspaper, we does only investigate if sumboddie call we.”
We are sorry that we have to come to a conclusion that here is another occasion where Barbadians show concern, and then as in the case with so many other issues, they are forgotten until something tragic happens. Minister of the Environment, Elizabeth Thompson, was very vocal during the period mid last year when there was the public cry on snakes. It is unfortunate that these kind of issues have been relegated by her ministry in favor of the more important deposits of natural resources speculated to exist in Barbados waters.
To our concerned BU emailer, we recommend that you write a letter to Minister Elizabeth Thompson expressing the same concerns which you forwarded to us.
Here is a story carried by Barbados Free Press back in July, 2006 on the capture of a 7 foot boa in Barbados.
Wait…what became of those snakes that were slithering around Barbados?
I am not sure where you are searching for these snakes my first suggestion would to check by cabinet office or by the house of assembly and you will be able to put your hands on some massive disgusting bastards of snake just becareful just do not let then bite you with their stealing diease.
Is this a case where the media failing bajans? Issues just seem to fade away.
There is no doubt in my mind at all that the press has failed us massively it most worrysome it begs the question are they being controlled by the ruling party.
Where are the snakes? They are all hanging out in the Barbados Labour Party!
And they are not tame…They are vicious…and some like Mia like to bite! They are led by ‘King-Cobra= Owing After!
When the BLP get put out of office, we’ll all be owing long after they are gone!
I think Barbados Underground should ask Mr . Craig Corrie about this topic, as he is the expert .
Jinx his name is Damon Corrie and if any BU reader knows how to contact please do and have him make a comment.
Jinx his name is Damon Corrie and if any BU reader knows how to contact please do and have him make a comment.
Oh yes , David thank you for the correction…
I recall Mr.Corrie calling off his mission due to severe lack of support from various entities…….
but as is usual for Barbados , a tourist would have to be attacked by said snake first before “anything” is done.
Guess we will just have to wait for that to happen.
I know of a gentleman in St.Joseph who saw the thing with his own eyes…..yes folks “it ” is out there!
Regarding your snake comments. Barbados has two native species of snake..mastigodryas which is a two foot long, slim, harmless tree dwelling snake and the small burrowing thread snake which might be mistaken for a worm. A third species, a ground dwelling racer is now thought to be extinct. Recently, another very small snake, the African flowerpot snake seems to have been introduced. There may be a few red tailed boas around but they certainly do not have the capacity to swallow a child.. if left undisturbed, they would feed on rats which is a good thing given the prevalence of leptospirosis on this island. It would seem as if one or two pythons illegally brought into the island were released..they might be problematic if they survived. However, snakes are far more likely to fear and avoid humans..with good reason, since with our irrational fear of snakes, our philosophy is that the only good snake is a dead snake. Yet many more of us will die from leptospirosis than from a snake attack by some of the mythological snakes reputed to be out there.
Karl Watson~we thank you for your expert intervention. Your comment does not address the gist of our article. Do you know why there is no active project to track the pythons you mentioned? If we concede red boas are not a threat, we can’t say the same about the pythons.
I know you people don’t take too kindly to criticism – constructive or otherwise – but I think you should realise that these blogs are read all over the world and your grasp of the English language is not the greatest, to say the least. Once before, when your English grammar was corrected you got all huffy and said the grammar doesn’t matter when a valid point is being made. I don’t think International readers would necessarily agree with that. However, to get to today’s gaffe: “Your comment does not address the jest of our article”. The JEST? About SNAKES?? Well, maybe. But I think you actually meant the “gist”. Please don’t get too angry with me. Perhaps I’m a fanatic when it comes to correct English. Can’t help it.
Point taken. A snake task force was set up, largely through the intervention of Mr Damon Corrie who is quite knowledgeable about snakes and is a pet dealer/exotic animal trader. Several groups including BDF personnel searched wooded areas looking for snakes. A general paranoia was created in the island and people imagined and reported all kinds of rustling. As part of the panic reaction, large areas of grassland/regenerating forest were set on fire to flush out these real/mythical creatures all to no avail. I know of several specimens of the scarce and harmless mastigodryas or tree snake which were killed because of this irrational fear. The snake task force is I believe now dormant as the paranoia has subsided. Yes, if there were Burmese pythons loose on this island they should be captured or humanely eliminated. This is what is being done in the Florida Everglades where escaped pythons have thrived. Having said that, I repeat that snake attacks on humans are rare..I lived in Venezuela for five years and never once was an anaconda attack on a human being reported, Hollywood movies to the contrary. Almost every recorded snake bite by venemous snakes (of which there are NONE in Barbados) comes about when people venture into the snake’s territory and disturb the reptile. Humans are often quite stupid when it comes to trespassing where we should not go..and we react belligerently when we have to pay the cost. For example, folks get killed when they on a bet or dare, jump into the polar bear’s enclosure or lion’s cage in a zoo, but in return, the imprisoned animals get killed as well. The bottom line is that snakes on land or sharks in the sea all have roles to play in the chain of existence we call life, and it is only human arrogance which creates the mindset of eliminating them all.
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I have only just discovered this site so I will TRY to leave a few brief comments:
#1 – The BDF has so far not yet conducted a single search, I keep getting invited to training seminars that end up being postponed.
The only searches done were by me, Corey Forde & Geoffrey Brown at our expense.
#2 – I have no doubt there are hoaxers out there who made false claims, but inspector Norville himself told us (in a Task Force meeting) that he had captured an 11foot long Burmese python in Barbados (not reported in the media & which was taken to the Wildlife Reserve) in someone’s garage the year before I said in the press that there were 10 large snakes on the loose that I was aware of, with the 7 foot Boa and that 11 foot Python – there are 8 more still out there in my opinion. My opinion is based on ‘pets’ I have seen myself previously – who’s owners cannot convincingly explain to me why they no longer possess those ‘pets’ or the whereabouts of said ‘pets’ at present.
A Guy tried to sell me 6 baby Green Anacondas in 1992 and I refused, but they were in the island already – so what became of them?
One rich guy I know said he bought one for $100 & later released it when it was 4 feet long in Graeme Hall Swamp at the back “because it never stopped biting him & he could not handle it”….I was told from very high up NOT to put that info in the press.
I have not seen it in the swamp myself (only checked from the safety of the land 3 times – once at night & twice by day) – but do you think I would go wading into the back of the swamp to find out for sure – seeing as they spend 95% of their time in the water with only their well camouflaged heads barely above the water line?
I don’t think so, I would rather err on the side of caution and tell children NOT to go alone to the swamp to fish or play anymore – like I used to as a child. My greatest fear is to wake up one day to the news that a child or adult has been killed by one of these potential threats, call me paranoid if you must.
Anacondas are also on record with Burmese, Reticulated & African Rock Pythons as having killed human beings (Google search for yourself)
In my mind nothing that can kill you can be considered a ‘pet’.
Burmese pythons can attain 25 feet in length, at 9 feet long they can constrict and kill a grown man. I saw the ‘Big one’ that was loosed in the Mount Hillaby area, it was already 15 feet long at that time, the owner simply released it in a gully nearby before he moved to the UK and left us with his ‘time bomb’, if anyone thinks this fellow is a myth; one day reality might kick in – in a very bad way.
Burmese pythons have killed 11 American pet owners in the USA in the last decade – and more than a few were smuggled into Barbados as babies after legal imports of smaller more pet suitable species that could not attain 6 feet in length (due to the influence of a rabidly anti’pet’ advisor to the Government who thinks NO Reptile or Amphibian should ever be allowed into Barbados – not even turtles or newts) – were abruptly halted by the powers that be.
Is this fair though? Person X can import a pit bull – which have caused quite a few severe injuries to human beings – but person Y cannot get permission to import a harmless Newt – a tiny amphibian that cannot live outside of captivity in our environment; no Newt has ever harmed a human being. It boils down to prejudice and bias against my category of pet owner.
#3 – Our local Mastigodryas snakes reach just over 3 feet long, my sons still have 1 as a pet in their bedroom, and I have kept & bred them for over 14 years. Snakes were living in abundance in Barbados before the first humans ever set foot here – so do not think that ‘ snakes have no right to be in Barbados’ , I say the ILLEGALLY imported ones that can pose a threat to human life have no right to be in Barbados.
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One of the reliable, emphasis on reliable, workers on my farm in St. Joseph reported seeing a snake track coming up out of Joes River in the wet season when the banks were muddy and would take the imprint. The locale is not too far from where a very large reticulated python had apparently been observed earlier, and the track reported was over six inches wide, so I was sufficiently concerned to call the “hotline”. The response was that the BDF folks could not come because they had not yet finished their training. What?!?!?! What training does it take to go for a snake? As a child I caught and kept many, and even gave my first wife a boa as an engagement present (she was a zoology major). God help us if the St. Lucians invade, we can only hope the BDF has completed its St. Lucian Invader training! What is so difficult about bang bang, snake dead? And I don’t want to hear any grief about “humane” disposal. Is squeezing a small child to death and then swallowing it whole humane????
It was good to see Mr. Corrie’s much more rational explanation of the reality of the threat than the irrational tree hugging of Dr. Watson. The good doctor should stick to local history, at which he is very very good, and leave the wildlife to those who actually do venture into the wilds and encounter such life. The larger of these snakes can and do kill people. They have no collective fear of humans due to humans’ predilection to kill all serpents, and while they may not, in most cases, actively hunt humans, if a human comes in range while they are hungry, then Mr. Darwin’s natural selection will be in operation. As an adult human I am concerned for myself, and now always take a torch on evening walks which was never really needed previously. For my grandchildren I am terrified, and resent that it is no longer safe for them to roam the wilds of outback Barbados merely because some stupid and greedy people brought creatures into this island that have no business here, and because we have a government so completely incapacitated by its own greed and incompetence that it cannot manage to give the island’s defence force sufficient training to off a few big crawlers.
A member of the BU family had this scary dream of a 12 foot snake slithering through the back door. Thank God it was only a dream!!!
Well the local vet walks with a machete in this hand when he ventures into the gulleys because he is the one that gets called out to deal with these large snakes. He says they exist. Please get rid of them centipedes are bad enough but pythons are ten times worse….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!