Calm down, the Yellow Snake is harmless


A huge Jamaican Boa was found in canefields in Garlands, Montego Bay last week.

As photos of the snake circulated on social media, the first reaction of many persons was to say how quickly they would kill it had they been near the reptile. But, while many snakes are indeed dangerous, the Jamaican Boa (also called the Yellow Snake) is not poisonous and is not regarded as a threat to humans.

The Yellow Snake is a Protected Species under the Wild Life Protection Act.  The snake, which is endemic to Jamaica, is actually very useful to farmers as it feeds on birds, rats, lizards and insects that destroy crops. They are the largest snakes in Jamaica, reaching lengths of eight feet or longer; they live in trees and are active at nights.

The Yellow Snake is endangered and any person who is found in possession of the animal is guilty of an offence carrying a maximum penalty of $100,000 or 12 months in prison, or both.

Anybody who encounters a Jamaican Boa or Yellow Snake should contact the National Environment and Planning Agency.

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