Spring and summer months are active times for snakes; food is abundant, it is breeding season and the warm days give them lots of energy. The Chances of encountering snakes in these months is definitely greater than at any other time of the year. Meeting a snake in The Bahamas is perfectly harmless event but unfortunately many people due to superstition and misinformation are afraid of these harmless creatures. Snakes certainly strike fear into many people around the world, however, Bahamians can consider themselves lucky as their native snakes are some of the friendliest and harmless snakes known around the world.
Snakes of the Bahamas
The Bahamas has 5 different types of snakes. The largest are the Bahamian Boa Constrictors or “Fowl snakes” which can grow up to 8 feet in total length and 5 inches thick. These are the snakes that most people in the Bahamas fear. Despite the many folk tales that surround them, they are completely harmless to humans, In fact, they are more friend than foe. They eat rats and mice which can spread human disease. Bahamian snakes are more calm and docile in nature as they historically had few predators compared to snakes in other regions.
Other snakes that call the Bahamas home are the:
- Brown Racer – a slim brown snake growing to a maximum size of 3 feet
- Pygmy Boa – a small boa reaching a maximum size of 1 foot
- Thread snakes – very small snake no bigger than 30 cm in length
- Blind snakes – very small snake no bigger than 30 cm in length
Why do snakes come into my house?
Where there are people, there is garbage. Where there is garbage, there are rats. Where the rats go, snakes will surely follow. Snakes found inside people’s homes were probably following a food source. A garage or wash house also provides perfect living conditions for a snake as it is cool and dry with lots of hiding places.
What can I do to get rid of the snake?
Snakes play an important role in the Bahamian environment and without them the Bahamas would be overrun with rats and mice that could eventually lead to the spread of diseases. If you do not want snakes around your home, the best option is to make it less inviting for them. Reduce your rat population by keeping your home free of garbage. Make sure that all holes in your house (especially in the attic) are sealed. If you already have a snake living in your house or garden, you might wish to have the snake removed and released into an unpopulated area of forest or overgrown bush.
What to do if I see a snake that I know is not native?
People have accidentally and on purpose introduced foreign snakes to the Bahamian islands. The most commonly seen introduced snake is the Corn Snake from North America. Despite its venomous appearance, with bright colourations and the ability to slightly “flare” the loose skin around its neck, it is completely harmless. However, it poses a threat to our endemic (found no-where else) Brown Racers and other animals by competing for the same food source. Non native snakes should be removed from the Bahamian environment. If you find a snake that looks unfamiliar, you should report it to the Department of Agriculture. Collect it and contain it if possible, but be very careful as you will not know what type of snake you have found.