Herping the Island of St. Lucia

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cherper
Posts: 173
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:14 am
Location: CSRA Georgia

Herping the Island of St. Lucia

Post by cherper » April 22nd, 2019, 5:22 pm

Has anyone ever herped the Island of St. Lucia (not to be confused with the African St. Lucia)? Have you had any luck? What snakes can be readily found?

CHerper

ackee
Posts: 39
Joined: March 18th, 2015, 7:06 pm

Re: Herping the Island of St. Lucia

Post by ackee » April 26th, 2019, 11:26 am

I have not herped St Lucia but I have done a lot of snake hunting on Dominica, where a Boa very similar to the St Lucia Boa Constrictor is found. Both Boas are sometimes called 'Clouded Boas' because they tend to get quite dark as they age, with most of the pattern becoming obscure except for the tail. Both get very large. On Dominica I had success primarily at night while cruising back roads an hour or two after sunset. I've also found a few young specimens buried in palm tree litter around farms and near water. Unlike Dominica, there are venomous snakes on St Lucia.

Still BT
Posts: 11
Joined: April 19th, 2011, 2:40 pm

Re: Herping the Island of St. Lucia

Post by Still BT » May 15th, 2019, 3:54 pm

I got a cane toad and Johnston's Robber Frog there in 2007. There used to be the Couresse or St. Lucian racer/whipsnake but I believe it is relegated to a spit of an island east of the main island where it feeds on the equally rare St. Lucian Whiptail.

I can't recall what else "may" occur there, but I saw no snakes. Spent the time interacting with the local and lounging at the beach mostly.

ackee
Posts: 39
Joined: March 18th, 2015, 7:06 pm

Re: Herping the Island of St. Lucia

Post by ackee » May 16th, 2019, 11:16 am

I was on St Lucia in 2015, but went for the scuba diving and did not do any herping. The previous year a St. Lucian was killed by a Fer de Lance, which are fairly common is some areas. These venomous snakes were imported and released in large numbers during the slavery period in order to deter African people from escaping into the interior. St. Lucia and Dominica are right next to each other, and the Boas on each are closely related. In my experience Dominica is a much nicer island, relatively unspoiled by tourism. Herping there was great fun and quite rewarding.

Jimi
Posts: 1853
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Herping the Island of St. Lucia

Post by Jimi » May 20th, 2019, 8:40 am

These venomous snakes were imported and released in large numbers during the slavery period in order to deter African people from escaping into the interior.
That is a falsehood. Often repeated, "sounds sort of plausible" (until you think about it for a second...), but never true. The St Lucia lancehead is an insular endemic, as is Martinique's. Other mainland snakes have rafted out there and diverged too, e.g. the boas that others have mentioned here.

FWIW I have also heard Dominica is way nicer, though it lacks vipers...

cheers

ackee
Posts: 39
Joined: March 18th, 2015, 7:06 pm

Re: Herping the Island of St. Lucia

Post by ackee » May 20th, 2019, 12:15 pm

Thanks for the correction, Jimi. I heard the story from a boat captain when I was diving St Lucia for a couple of days, boating over from Dominica where I was spending a couple of weeks. I should have known better. I lived in Jamaica for a sabbatical year back in the late 80s. I was actually researching poetry written in Patois, but spent a lot of time scuba diving and herping, especially when I had the use of a car. I actually caught a young Jamaican Boa right behind my cottage near Negril Hill. It managed to bite me several times, and all the local people assured me that I was doomed, that even medical intervention would not save me. My next door neighbor, a dentist, insisted that these beautiful creatures were venomous. My protestations that Boas were harmless were dismissed. That snake came home with me and is still alive, active in a select endangered species program.

Jimi
Posts: 1853
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Herping the Island of St. Lucia

Post by Jimi » May 21st, 2019, 11:35 am

Thank you for taking it as I meant it, Ackee - nothing twitchy or overheated, just a straightforward factual statement devoid of any hostility or anything.

I envy your time in the Caribbean.

cheers

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