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1 Big Snake: on Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:17 pm

A BEAUTIFUL 200-pound, 16-foot-long anaconda snake was spotted by two private security guards, employed by Executive Bodyguard Services Limited, sunning itself along a private road opposite the Caroni cremation site yesterday.

Rather than killing the animal or raising an alarm which may have caused other persons to visit the area and harm the snake, the security guards contacted the Emperor Valley Zoo, an act which drew much praise from the Zoo’s curator, well-known conservationist Gupte Lutchmedial.

“Instead of attempting to kill the snake, they called the zoo. That was a very good thing they did. I wish more people would call us rather than attempt to kill a wild animal. The guards were on patrol at 4 pm when they saw the snake on the road, so they used a rope to lasso it in place and kept watch over it until we arrived in the evening,” Lutchmedial said.

He said it took a couple hours to arrange for three qualified zookeepers to report for duty at the Zoo before heading to Caroni to collect the animal. “It’s a beautiful specimen, the largest I’ve seen in 12 years,” Lutchmedial remarked when asked about how rare such a find was in TT.

“These are water-based snakes, so you find them more in the Nariva Swamp and places like that, but hardly on dry land, especially one this size.” By the time the zookeepers arrived on site after 6 pm yesterday, three more security guards had joined their colleagues, as well as a couple of police officers stationed at the Caroni Police Station.

En route to the zoo yesterday evening, Lutchmedial and crew were flagged down by Newsday who were told the zookeepers were carrying a special passenger to the zoo. As the zookeepers struggled to display the creature, several persons gawked at the 16-footer.

“I have to play big snake tomorrow (today). I going and put down a hundred dollars now that I see that huge snake,” a man muttered as he took photos of the snake with his cellular phone. Upon arrival at the zoo last night, the female snake was placed in an enclosure which contained a pool to, “allow her to relax in as close to her natural environment as possible,” Lutchmedial stated.

A veterinarian is due to examine the anaconda sometime today to determine if she has any infection or if she sustained any injuries while being restrained. “My goal is to return her to the wild, once we have determined she has no debilitating injuries or infections. How long that will take depends on what the vet says,” Lutchmedial declared.

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