Monday, May 7, 2012

UPDATE: Not an anaconda. Guyanese Oxymoron: "Little Anaconda"

UPDATE: I wrote this post thinking the snake I'd seen was a juvenile anaconda. Turns out it was an adult rainbow boa, which while beautiful is not an anaconda. Thanks to my old friend Ben Atkinson for the help identifying this little guy.

Scratch another item off my Guyana bucket list... last weekend I finally got to see an
anaconda rainbow boa. Though only 5ft and small by anaconda standards (adults have been caught in our area of lengths of up to 30 feet!!), it still counts.
In Guyana they call anacondas "camoodie"... which is a nice fact, but this snake is a rainbow boa.
 Everyone in Mabaruma knows I've been itching to see one since I've been here. A buddy of mine, Terry, has insane stories about anacondas he's seen and helped catch. Once while on his way home he saw a log that someone had laid across the road. When he finally got close enough to inspect the log he discovered to his surprise that it was in fact a 20 ft anaconda that was crossing from trench to trench.

Another story he tells is when he and some other guys caught a huge one (30 ft) up at the river head. A snake that long would easily be about as thick as a medium size tree trunk. Hoping to get it back to market where they'd have a chance to sell it for a significant profit if alive, they were able to tie it up and get it in the boat. Unfortunately, once inside the boat the snake decided it had had enough and began to thrash around, eventually shaking the boat to pieces. Worse, now the men were stranded at the river head, which is 2 hours from the nearest village, clinging to the banks of a river where the know they've just loosed a huge angry snake into black murky water. J Lo and Ice Cube eat your hearts out. Hours later, a man paddling by on his canoe was able to send for help. 

My story isn't that badass, but I did have to wade through thigh deep water to get to the snake. I had no idea these snakes had iridescent skin. 

Iridescent skin glimmers in the sunlight... hence the name, Rainboa Boa.
Terry and the
 rainbow boa.

Thanks to my buddy Terry for remembering that I wanted to see one and for catching it when it was found in a chicken coup during his sister's wedding. Cool guy. For those of you coming to visit us, he's offered to take us on a little trip to his uncle's house who makes traditional bows and arrows... then goes hunting with them.

This man took it, thought about selling it, but then released it by the bridge pictured here because it was too small.

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