Catching snakes for fun

March 11, 2016
Photo by Shanna Monteith This snake, estimated to be 14ft long, was found in Danvers Pen, St Thomas Wednesday.

A snake, said to be about the length of the averaged-sized bedroom, was captured in Danvers Pen, St Thomas, on Wednesday by men who have a habit of catching the reptiles.

"We catch them for fun," said Hubert Nelson, one of the men responsible for the catch.

Leighton Blackstock, crime chief of the St Thomas police, said that the reptile was spotted in a tree by a community member. The man used a cage to capture the reptile and then notified the police.

seven species

Up to press time yesterday, it was unclear whether the snake was retrieved by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Jamaica has seven species of snakes, six of which are found only in Jamaica. Snakes found in Jamaica are not venomous and generally do not pose any risk to human life.

Nelson told The Weekend STAR that it is not unusual to see snakes in Danvers Pen, adding that he caught "the biggest snake I have ever seen in my life" there last year.

"As long as you don't make a lot of noise, then everything good. They don't like noise and they don't like smoke. So when I'm going into the hills, I will light a fire just in case," Nelson said.

"I'm a man of the hills, and when I come up here, I see them sleeping. Because the time is hot now, they can be found around any water catchment. They feed at nights, and then in the days, they come out to drink water and fall asleep nearby," he said.

"My friend and I were in the hills catching gully shrimps (crayfish) when we saw it. It's the first time I've ever been nervous at the size of a snake. It weighed about 170-180 pounds. We were afraid first, but then we realised it was sleeping, so we got a 'pudding wisp' and put it around his head, and that cramped him so he couldn't move. Then we took it to the community, took some pictures, then called the police," he said.

Nelson said that snakes are caught in the community as often as three times per month.

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