Snake Expert Damon Corrie Exposes The Cover-up On The Missing Snakes In Barbados

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:

  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.



16 thoughts on “Snake Expert Damon Corrie Exposes The Cover-up On The Missing Snakes In Barbados

  1. Mr. Corrie, how long can these large snakes live, will they breed if they can, and what idiot/idiots is to go hunting them in swamps and backwoods? If they are alive what are they eating?

  2. All I want to know is when we as Barbadians are going to learn to start making lemonade and not squirting lemon juice in our own eyes- I all about a pair of snake skin shoes and a snake skin wallet. Whatever happened to cottage industries? Skin them!

  3. If one of these snakes in the wild hurts a human being what will happen? Will we ignore it? Should we not make some effort? If we do, it should help to create awareness about the do’s and don’ts to protect our communities.

  4. David,

    This issue will never be dealt with until it becomes a “damage control ” issue!

    Why has the RSPCA in Barbados been so “toothless”?
    Surely Mr.Corrie alone, cannot bear the brunt of this responsibility?

    Do you think the RSPCA UK would withhold information and remain silent on issues affecting both animals and humans?

  5. wolf spiders and the brown recluse are also found in bim, i happen to kill more than 23 large ones since i moved here in st john, even tho i feel they came in with the housing materials that is beyond the point, i passed the freaks onto the environmental specialists dept via a clinical orderly and it was told to him that these freaks are known to be in bim and is of no harm.

    i find that in bim, some people feel they know everything simply because its their job to know the case you put before them, if this was the case i wonder why some police charge people wrongfully and dont charge whom suppose to be, or why some doctors administer wrong medication, or… well i guess wunna know wa i mean.

    these little freaks dont only bite, but they leave the following, all now i trying to get de pic i took of one under my dininng table who i run, yes deze lil freaks move like mice, run fast as tail and breed just as fast, i get so acustom to dum i see like about 3 per day now

    read about this little freak here

    i was a victim of being bitten twice from two small ones, luckily i was able to kill them the same time i felt the sting, dont mind my hand did look like i had a burn out fuh two weeks

    anyways, we in bim gotta come to realise that we have a reactive government and society, they wait til something serious happen before they act.

    remember de qeh security issue, perfect example

  6. Did you know that in seven years if you get bitten by a Wolf spider, you could have no arm left because the wound from its bite eats a centimetre of skin every month and there is NO medicine for the bite, well from what i was told thats if u dont treat the wound the same time by washing it thoroughly with soap. this missing snakes issue, well i dont know how the sankes eat, since no one complaining in de media about missing cattle, and do you really think thats these snakes can eat an animal or something large and conceal itself? hmmm, can someone who knows about snakes enlighten us

  7. From what I understand it is the Boa that is supposedly on the island which is Non Venomous though it can squeeze the life out of it’s prey if given oppurtunity and the Viper which is very venomous.. though both do bite! If there are other types I have not heard about them being here but either way panic is not going to help so if one is spotted it should avoided and reported. When/If somthing occurs where someone is injured by a snake then of course something may be done. We all should know by now everything takes time here concerning certain responses.. so as always patience and prayer are the best options.

  8. People should browse the net – try Google searching for info about snakes, better not to comment until you have gained more personal knowledge on any given subject, I for example am not a Muslim – but I do have a Koran/Quran so I can comment on some of the teachings I see there in the Suras which shock me (like some of the very unholy things in the Old Testament).
    Boa constrictors are the only snakes with the name ‘constrictor’ in their scientific name, but ALL species of the Boidae (The Boas and Anacondas) and the Pythonidae (The Pythons) ‘constrict’ ie ‘wrap around and suffocate’ their intended prey.
    A nine foot long Boa or Python technically has the strength to ‘constrict’ and kill a grown man – however a nine foot long Boa or Python technically cannot swallow a grown man; however the point to bear in mind here is that it CAN kill you.
    People make the mistake of assuming that a large snake must eat large prey – so I get statements like that ‘no missing cattle’ from people who do not know that a large snake can eat a small meal and most often do, and also – these types of snakes do not need to eat often, technically a stray dog twice (or 3/4 lambs, or 6 stray cats, or 5/6 Fowls etc. etc.) a year can keep the fellow in the mount Hillaby area (and he’s the biggest one out there – the rest can do well on a rat every now & then – no shortage here) alive and well indefinitely – as long as it can get water to drink at least once per week – and if you know the Scotland District like I do you will know that water is always accessible.
    How many of these few theoretical small livestock disappearances might be blamed on theft or stray dogs?
    Who ever misses a stray dog or cat anyway?
    Burmese pythons will search on the ground as well as in trees by night for food – a monkey asleep in a tree would be easy to obtain, so would a Ramier Pigeon…who says a snake would starve in Barbados?

    I sincerely doubt that A – breeding would occur or that B – the population will increase here like it has in the Florida Everglades (where Burmese Pythons have become a serious threat).
    A male snake of any species must locate and mate with a female of his own species (no cross breeding) and all in a very short window of opportunity (like a bitch dog being ‘in heat’) – it is not a year round possibility like with us humans.
    In the wild chance that all these factors ever did come into play one day – in my opinion our Mongooses, as well as Monkeys, Cats, Dogs, even Egrets – would kill any baby Boas or Pythons in the wild in Barbados..’mummy’ does not stay with them once they are born (Boas) or hatch from the egg (Pythons) so it is every man for himself – and these slow moving 12 inch long (on average) baby Boas & Pythons have very little hope of living for too long in the wild here.
    Our Mongooses have never seen a large snake – only our local 3 foot & under finger width (in girth) local Mastigodryas snakes – so they run from anything 5/6 feet long or over, I caught a Mongoose and proved the point; they are quick to kill small snakes & eat them though.
    Back in India (as we see on National Geographic) Mongooses there are accustomed to seeing large snakes and DO readily attack them.
    But our Mongooses have lost all such instincts after over 150 years on an island with only small local snakes.

    Generally Boas & Pythons can live for several decades – so this issue will be with us for a long time to come.

    The only way more snakes will end up being on the loose here – will be due to the smugglers who STILL are bringing in snakes – albeit NOT Burmese pythons, this year I have heard of ‘new arrivals’ on the black market consisting of Emerald Tree Boas , Cooks Tree Boas and Red-Tailed Boa constrictors..who & who bought them I do not know – but was told they all sold out within 3 days.

    I assume because I did search 3 times in the back of Graeme hall Swamp for the Anaconda allegedly released there years ago – so I must be one of those ‘Idiots’ being referred to….it’s nice to know that there are members of the public like that who really appreciate our efforts in trying to prevent potential tragedy – i’ll try to remember that the next time I am out at 2am voluntarily searching gullies in the Scotland District while the ‘smart’ people are safely sound asleep in their homes.

  9. A very scary account given by a man we know to be an authority on snakes in Barbados. Can you tell us the locations in Barbados where your instinct tells you some of the snakes are hiding-out?

  10. I can only tell you what areas had RECENT (as in the last 6 months) sightings reported to me, but God only knows if A – They were true sightings and B – if they are still in these areas:

    1. Within 1 mile in radius of Mount Hillaby (The big Normal coloured Burmese Python c.16+ feet).

    2. The Bakers wood gully (Albino Burmese python c. 10 feet).

    3. Within 1 mile in radius of St. Andrew Post Office (Normal Boa constrictor c. 6 feet)

    4, The Joe’s River watershed St. Joseph (Normal Boa constrictor c 8 feet)

    The other 4 areas I was monitoring have not reported a sighting in the last 6 months – so I will not disclose them right now.

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  12. I just wanted to state for the record that Prime Minister Owen Arthur DID surprise me with a personal telephone call concerning this same issue early on in my revelations to the media of the potential problem out there, he was very concerned and I have no doubt that the PM took it very seriously, but as any reasonable person would expect – being the Prime Minister of the #1 developing country in the world – obviously there are hundreds of more pressing issues he has to attend to on a day to day basis, plus he has a right to a private life (being a father of 4 myself I know how demanding that can be on any time you have to spare).
    But I honestly do not think that all of the other people ‘lower down on the Totem pole’ delegated with the the responsibility to assist me by the PM – took it quite as seriously as he did. I had the very unpleasant experiences of one member of the task force saying openly that they did not believe that there were ANY of these snakes out there besides native ones (that was before the 7 foot Boa was captured in St. Andrew – two hills over from where Geoffrey Brown and myself were searching for it); and another person I thought better of – insinuated behind my back at a Task Force meeting (where my other partner Corey Forde attended in my absence) that I (Damon Corrie) was somehow to blame for the whole mess (never mind that I first became aware of the smuggling going on while still in short pants at Secondary School).
    I bear no grudge against the BDF either, but I have the impression that they were more interested in obtaining government funding for new night-vision equipment more so than accompanying me on any searches.
    Other Task Force members were more interested in getting legislation they drafted years ago being finally approved by Parliament, basically many others had some ‘angle’ to being involved in the Task Force, Inspector Norville of the RSPCA and the Royal Barbados Police Force ranks present gave me the impression of being totally genuine however.

    Now I think I have said quite enough on the topic so I will not bore you any more for the time being.

  13. Well I was thinking of acquiring a ball python, but since reading that article I see that has gone down the drain. I see Damon saids he breed the local snakes, is it possible I can purchase one as a pet, I’m later thinking of acquiring another.
    I’m also looking to get my lil sis into breaking this taboo fear of reptiles so I think that will be a good step on my part, you can contact me at this address with info.

  14. I have to tell you, some people think that you can’t get emotional over a reptile. There perhaps not all cute and fuzzy like a cat or dog but a couple of months ago my cat killed a snake that I had had for just under a year, I was quite down for a good while. it was only a garter snake but I enjored it and felt safe vis a vis my young son and the snake (spitz we called him). So know i;m debating wether or not to get a new one. My buddy runs a little reptile cage shop and keeps pushing me to get a bigger animal. Not sure yet.

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