The following comment was submitted by Damon Corrie, who is our resident expert on snakes, to an old topic which we published on September 12, 2007, titled, Where Are All The Snakes Hiding In Barbados. We commend Mr. Corrie on the candour which he has demonstrated in his comment. Until there is a tragedy linked to one of the wild snakes this issue will not return to the radar. We have become such a reactive society.
Our intention is not to scare the BU family, only to provide information. This is the kind of issue which should be of concern to citizens. Here is the comment which was made by Damon Corrie this afternoon:
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.
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.
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.