Recently, STENAPA has received several reports of what may be a non-native snake or snakes living on Statia. The reports have all been from the Manse/Rosemary Lane areas, and witnesses describe the snake as much larger than the typical Red-Bellied Racer (which is native to Statia) about as thick as a man’s wrist and having brown spots. There is speculation that the snake(s) may be boas or pythons (see photos), but without a photograph we are unable to positively identify them. It is unlikely that these snakes are dangerous. It is extremely important that we prevent these snakes from establishing a population, as they could pose an extreme threat to Statia’s native wildlife.
The arrival of invasive plants and animals on Statia is an ongoing threat, which needs to be addressed at our point of entries – the harbour and the airport. These problematic species can reach the island accidentally (especially amongst building material) and intentionally as a pet plant or pet animal. Green iguanas are an important example of an invasive organism which we do not want here on the island.
The solution to this situation is always prevention, where we put policy in place and agree as a people to adhere to the decisions of what can and cannot be brought to Statia. This way we can preserve our safe and healthy nature. We cannot bring another species to Statia to fix a problem that we have with any invasive critter. Every species has their own pros and cons and animals like the mongoose have proven time and again, to have too many cons. St Kitts brought the mongoose to their island to deal with their rat population which was a bother to the sugarcane industry as did the island of Jamaica. These islands now wish to rid themselves of the pest. We should learn from their mistake and instead figure out how to manage our ports of entries.
We are hereby urgently requesting the general public to report sightings of strange wildlife as soon as they are spotted. The snake has apparently been seen since early in the year. From recent reports it would seem that the snake has reproduced, and we are now having to deal with more than one individual.
For the animals that may already be here, such as our mystery snake (not a native Red-Bellied Racer) and any other invasive in future, please follow the following guidelines.
1) Immediately call STENAPA on 318-2884 (7-5), the iguana team on 318 6371 (24/7), or reforestation manager Adam on 318 6353 (24/7). Members of the STENAPA team have significant experience in capturing large snakes. If you can, send them a photo.
2) Do not kill the snake – if it has been misidentified you might end up killing one of our helpful native snakes.
3) Keep a watch on the snake, so that you know where it has gone. If possible, encourage it somewhere (like a shed or a large box) where it can be captured easily.
Together we can keep Statia’s nature healthy.