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Saint Lucia’s Forestry Department has expressed concern over the entry of invasive creatures after capturing a snake not native to Saint Lucia on a hotel property in the North.
Assistant Chief Forestry Officer Pius Haynes said the snake is a Western yellow-bellied racer, endemic to the Western United States, including California, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, and Colorado.
Haynes emphasised that the creature is non-venomous.
However, the Assistant Chief Forestry Officer said Wednesday’s discovery highlighted the need for invasive species management since the yellow-bellied racer is not indigenous.
Saint Lucia currently has four indigenous snake species, including the Saint Lucia boa, the Saint Lucia racer on Maria Major, the Saint Lucia thread snake, and the fer de lance.
The fer de lance is the only venomous one.
Haynes explained that any other exotic snake species would be considered invasive.
“It highlights the great need for invasive species management at the national level. It also highlights the need for border control, because these species would be coming through our borders,” the senior Forestry Department official told St. Lucia Times.
He said the department did not know how the yellow-bellied racer got onto the hotel compound.
But after its capture, the department transferred it to the zoo at Union for assessment and data collection before determining what to do with the creature.