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7-foot-long macajuel captured

By NEWSDAY REPORTER Monday, December 16 2013

click on pic to zoom in
CAPTURED: Honorary game wardens Darius Baldeo, left, and Ravi Rampersad place a seven- foot long Boa Constrictor snake (locally known as a macajuel) i...
CAPTURED: Honorary game wardens Darius Baldeo, left, and Ravi Rampersad place a seven- foot long Boa Constrictor snake (locally known as a macajuel) i...

A SEVEN-FOOT long female Boa constrictor (known locally as a macajuel) was captured by game wardens at a wood mill in Ramnarine Drive, Fyzabad yesterday.

While nowhere near the size and length of “Sarp”, an 18-foot behemoth of the Anaconda species which was captured in Caroni late last year, yesterday’s discovery still generated a lot of curiosity among residents, many of whom were already dipping into their wallets to locate and put aside money to play 35 (Big Snake) in today’s play whe draws in the hope of profiting from the discovery.

According to honorary TT Game Warden Darius Baldeo, the snake was spotted early yesterday morning in some bushes slithering toward a furniture factory. Residents in the area raised an alarm and managed to corral the reptile at a fenced-in area of the wood mill, while one telephoned the Forestry Division’s San Fernando Branch.

Baldeo, together with Honorary Game Warden Ravi Rampersad and Forester Keith Jaggernauth, were able to capture and remove the reptile from the compound. According to Baldeo, the snake had a large bulge in the stomach which suggested that it had just consumed a large meal, possibly an agouti which is known to frequent the bushes near the mill.

The snake was seeking a place to rest and digest its meal when it was spotted entering the mill. Both Baldeo and Rampersad expressed pleasure at the changing attitudes among members of the public toward wildlife conservation saying that in the not too distant past, persons — rather than call the Forestry Division of the Zoo — would simply kill these reptiles and other wildlife on site.

The wardens said that snakes play a critical role as apex predators in maintaining the delicate check and balance of TT’s wildlife as if there were no snakes and other predators such as Ocelots and caimans, there could be an explosion of other animals which the predators usually feed on, which could have a deleterious domino effect not only on the natural balance but also on property and belongings of people for example food crops.

The snake was later moved to a more remote part of the forest in South Trinidad where it was released.

In late December of last year, an 18-foot long Anaconda (local name Hu’ille) was found in Caroni and taken to the Emperor Valley Zoo.

The snake, later named “Sarp” which is a variation of the Hindi word “Sarpa” which means snake, is now one of the zoo’s main attractions as she is believed to be the longest snake ever captured in this country, although there have been unsubstantiated reports of sightings of Anacondas exceeding 20 feet in length.

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