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HomeNewsArchivesSeven-Foot Snake Found in St. Croix Driveway

Seven-Foot Snake Found in St. Croix Driveway

Aug. 26, 2008 — Last Thursday, the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) received a phone call from a resident in Estate La Grange reporting a very large snake crawling in the driveway.
Jennifer Valiulis, wildlife biologist and William Coles, chief of endangered species and environmental education for DFW, responded to the call. They arrived to find a calm and very healthy seven-foot-long, 24-pound red tail boa.
Valiulis and Coles collected the snake, which is now being held by DFW until a good home is found.
"We would really like to find a home off of St. Croix so this snake will not pose any further threat to the island ecology," Valiulis said.
Red tail boas are a non-venomous subspecies of the boa constrictor and native to Central and South America, according to a news release from DPNR. Adult sizes vary, but they usually grow to around 10 feet long and live to be more than 30 years old.
"Many people purchase these snakes when they are small and cute, without fully grasping how big they can get and the level of care that they must provide," the release said. "Oftentimes, when the snake becomes too much to handle, the owner will free it into the bush."
Because red tail boas are not native to the Virgin Islands, they have no natural predators. They feed on native birds, chickens, rats, mongoose and small dogs — practically anything they can catch. They are able to climb trees, making them a big threat to native bird species.
To import a boa into the U.S. Virgin Islands, owners need a permit from the V.I. Division of Fish and Wildlife. Many other states require that captive snakes be tagged with a passive integrated transmitter (PIT) tagged so, if they do escape, the snake and owner can be identified when they are found. A PIT tag is a small device about the size of a grain of rice implanted under the skin that allows the animal to be identified with a scanner.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of implementing this type of program so it can hold people responsible for letting these snakes go into the wild. The division urges residents not to release their pet snakes into the bush. If you need assistance finding a good home for your snake, call DFW at 772-1955 on St. Croix or 775-6762 on St. Thomas.
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Aug. 26, 2008 -- Last Thursday, the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) received a phone call from a resident in Estate La Grange reporting a very large snake crawling in the driveway.
Jennifer Valiulis, wildlife biologist and William Coles, chief of endangered species and environmental education for DFW, responded to the call. They arrived to find a calm and very healthy seven-foot-long, 24-pound red tail boa.
Valiulis and Coles collected the snake, which is now being held by DFW until a good home is found.
"We would really like to find a home off of St. Croix so this snake will not pose any further threat to the island ecology," Valiulis said.
Red tail boas are a non-venomous subspecies of the boa constrictor and native to Central and South America, according to a news release from DPNR. Adult sizes vary, but they usually grow to around 10 feet long and live to be more than 30 years old.
"Many people purchase these snakes when they are small and cute, without fully grasping how big they can get and the level of care that they must provide," the release said. "Oftentimes, when the snake becomes too much to handle, the owner will free it into the bush."
Because red tail boas are not native to the Virgin Islands, they have no natural predators. They feed on native birds, chickens, rats, mongoose and small dogs -- practically anything they can catch. They are able to climb trees, making them a big threat to native bird species.
To import a boa into the U.S. Virgin Islands, owners need a permit from the V.I. Division of Fish and Wildlife. Many other states require that captive snakes be tagged with a passive integrated transmitter (PIT) tagged so, if they do escape, the snake and owner can be identified when they are found. A PIT tag is a small device about the size of a grain of rice implanted under the skin that allows the animal to be identified with a scanner.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of implementing this type of program so it can hold people responsible for letting these snakes go into the wild. The division urges residents not to release their pet snakes into the bush. If you need assistance finding a good home for your snake, call DFW at 772-1955 on St. Croix or 775-6762 on St. Thomas.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.