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Snakes, caimans scare villagers

By CECILY ASSON Thursday, December 30 2010

click on pic to zoom in
A BIG ONE: A villager displays one of several long snakes killed in the village off Chester Road, Debe which the villagers say is infested with snakes...
A BIG ONE: A villager displays one of several long snakes killed in the village off Chester Road, Debe which the villagers say is infested with snakes...

A TINY village located a short distance from the Debe Constituency office of Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal is now under siege from snakes and other reptiles including caimans.

Residents told Newsday that the poor drainage in the area is responsible for the swampy conditions they are forced to live under and which encourage the breeding of the reptiles.

Yesterday, frightened father of four Krishna Boodhai, 38, of Chester Road, Debe said residents including a number of children are afraid to come out of their homes. He said the area is infested with snakes which are often seen slithering along the road and in the yards of people’s homes.

Caimans, he said, hide under vehicles. “We are afraid of being bitten by these snakes and caimans. The caimans are especially bold and the bigger ones will stand their ground when you confront them,” a villager said.

On Monday night, Boodhai told Newsday they killed the largest snake in quite some time, with the reptile measuring six feet in length. He did not know the type of snake and whether or not it was poisonous.

According to online reference site Wikipedia, there are four species of venomous snakes in Trinidad — two Coral Snakes (Micrurus spp), the Fer-de-lance (Bothrops atrox) or Mappepire Balsain as it is commonly called and the Bushmaster (Lachesis muta) or Mappepire Znana as it is commonly called.

“We don’t know who to ask for help again,” Boodhai said. “We spoke to the councillor, the Member of Parliament (MP) and it’s like no one cares. I feel they are waiting on a child to get bitten before they respond.”

Boodhai said residents are forced to hunt the snakes and kill them to protect their children from harm. “You walk in the yard and there are snakes just lying or slithering around. In the night we have to take a torchlight and look for them and kill them so that the children and women can sleep easy,” he said.

The caimans and snakes inhabit the stagnant water said to be about two feet deep in mud drains in front their homes and a nearby lagoon. “Because there is no proper run off for the water, it settles in the drains and this causes the snakes and caimans to come out. We are accustomed to water snakes but the snake we killed on Monday night was different. We don’t know if it is poisonous or not,” Boodhai said.

Councillor Skafte Awardy acknowledged knowing about the villagers’ plight. “I have visited the area and the issue is a complicated one with regard to the location of homes in the village. I am working on the problem but it is taking longer than expected. I hope to bring relief to them as soon as possible,” Awardy said.

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