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Wednesday 19 September 2018
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Proud mom gives birth to 50 at zoo

BOUNCING BABIES: Fifty newborn boa constrictor snakes wriggle about in captivity on a suitable bedspread at the Emperor Valley Zoo shortly after their birth on Thursday. PHOTO COURTESY MINSTER OF AGRICULTURE CLARENCE RAMBHARAT

Andrew Gioannetti

A boa constrictor rescued from a residence in Diego Martin gave birth to 50 baby snakes at the Emperor Valley Zoo on Thursday.

Only one was stillborn to the seven-foot serpent in a delivery observed by staff of the Emperor Valley Zoo and the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ZSTT).

Speaking with Sunday Newsday, ZSTT president Narine Gupte Lutchmedial said the young snakes would be observed before a decision to keep or release them was made.

“The first thing we’re going to do is make sure they shed skin. Then we will try to feed them their first meal,” Lutchmedial said.

He added that the zoo would likely be unable to keep all after observation. “We already asked one or two of our people if they would be interested in keeping some,” he said, adding that the remainder would be released into the wild.

The mother was captured as part of the zoo’s wildlife rescue programme after she was discovered in a yard at a home in Diego Martin. When the snake’s pregnancy was observed, the ZSTT made a decision to keep her as an exhibit at the zoo where she will remain. Contacted yesterday, zoological officer at the zoo Sharleen Khan said the mother snake was just one of many rescued by the zoo. She said they regularly rescues snakes and any other animal that might be injured, distressed, threatened or a threat to humans. Unlike other snakes that lay eggs, a boa constrictor, also known locally as a “macajuel” gives birth to live young. As many as 60 may be born at a time. Khan said they were important to TT’s ecosystem and, as such, were protected by local conservation laws.

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