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HomeNewsLocal newsSlither Me Timbers! Hunt On For Giant St. Thomas Snake

Slither Me Timbers! Hunt On For Giant St. Thomas Snake

So far, a giant boa spotted on St. Thomas has given wildlife officials the slip. (Shutterstock image)

Wildlife experts were combing Ras Valley, Anna’s Retreat, and Tutu Friday in search of an enormous snake spotted in the area, Department of Planning and Natural Resources officials said.

Spotted Monday, the at least 7-foot-long serpent had given Virgin Islands authorities the slip all week. A video posted on social media appears to show a well-fed boa constrictor slithering down a sidewalk in Hidden Valley Monday night.

Unlike the smaller, harmless Virgin Islands tree boa, which is native to the territory, these large snakes are not protected by law. Jamal Nielsen, DPNR’s media relations coordinator, said the species was invasive and urged anyone who saw it to contact the department immediately.

“If they feel comfortable in somehow stopping it,” Nielsen said. “There is no law stopping them.”

This includes trapping the snake or killing it, he said.

Red tail boas, likely the offspring of escaped pets, have been found on St. Croix for at least two decades, experts have said. Efforts to limit importing invasive species and tagging those that are already in the territory have been met with limited success.

While some wildlife experts advocate rehoming the animals, people less sympathetic to the reptiles’ Virgin Islands residency suggest extermination by machete or automobile.

Because red tail boas are not native to the territory, 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.

While St. Croix has taken the brunt of the boa invasion, going so far as to offer a bounty in 2022, St. Thomas had been able to give the snakes the slip until recently.

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