Spotted: Constrictor on the Cancha

For ophidiophobes, the weeks following Halloween would have brought some real fright.

Snake lover and UGACR Moth Intern Brad Hiatt and the boa constrictor

The clock struck exactly 2:30pm and on the soccer field was a group much larger than the regular mejenga, or pick up soccer, crowd. After a series of clicks and flashes from smartphones and professional DSLR cameras, I managed to shuffle my way to the front and finally see it. Directly in the middle of the cancha, was a boa constrictor.

Surrounded by curious students and staff, the boa coiled its long body over the freshly-cut grass. How did a boa constrictor about a meter long make its way to the middle of UGA Costa Rica’s fútbol field without being seen by a single person? That remains a mystery but luckily some members of the UGA Costa Rica staff know how to handle the large nonvenomous snake.

“You want to stay at least a third of its body length away from it and always use a snake catching stick.”

Attempting to pick it up and move it, UGA Costa Rica Resident Naturalist Mac reached in towards the middle of the snake’s body so as to make sure the boa wouldn’t slip. With caution, Mac carefully lifted the snake, moved it from the field, and back into the forest.

Boa constrictors, of the Boidae family, are geographically found from Mexico all the way down to parts of South America. In Costa Rica, they are more frequently spotted at lower elevations which makes this sighting all the more special. Boa constrictors can be tree-dwelling as well as ground-dwelling. Though it was quite a challenge to move, this boa constrictor had not even reached it full potential. Boa constrictors can reach an astounding 4 or 5 meters in length!

Blog post contribution by Bilan Haji-Mohamed, UGACR Photojournalism Intern

Thank you to UGACR Resident Naturalist Hannah W. for her photo contribution.

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