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It turns out that there are 26 species of snake to be found on the island of Hispaniola.

My previous research had confirmed that none of the 26 are poisonous, and the few snakes we’d actually encountered appeared to be friendly in a slim and green non-threatening tropical sort of way.

So that’s what I communicated to Heather a few weeks ago when she inquired about the “snake situation” while visiting.

And then we gave it no further thought until one evening when Heather interrupted her trip to the bungalow and returned to the veranda asking if she could exchange her small flashlight for the heavy aluminum Maglite flashlight.

This is the sort of flashlight that State Police use on windswept and rainy nights and that Wackenhut security guards strap on as a matter of course in lieu of a sidearm.

Without actually saying so, Heather indicated that she was interested in the flashlight-as-weapon function as much as in what additional illumination as it might provide. Thus armed, she departed and returned almost immediately, announcing that there was “a really big snake” on the path that was also her route to bed.

I didn’t entirely dismiss her report, but I’ll confess to discounting it substantially.

The only snakes we’d seen heretofore were small, green, and tropically non-threatening, friendly-like and etc. so it seemed unlikely that some monster lurked nearby with us completely unaware.

In an effort to be reassuring I regurgitated the results of my previous research: “…there are no poisonous snakes in the Dominican Republic.”

She invited me to join her for a look.

I still have no idea how long this creature might have been, since we were unable to see either its head or its tail, twined as it was in the lava wall outside the bungalow. I can tell you that what I imagine and hope to be its’ middle had the girth of my calf. This was indeed a big snake.

“That looks like a boa,” Heather said, not quite accusingly. I tried out a contemplative response, “Hmmm.”

“That looks like a boa,” Heather repeated herself, ignoring my failed attempt at nonchalance. “Nah,” I thought to confidently dismiss the possibility although in truth it did resemble a somewhat more brown version of the boa constrictor familiar from visits to many US metropolitan zoos and from innumerable nature programs on PBS. (You know the sort: “The Hungry Boa Constrictor Will Now Unhinge Its’ Jaw and Ingest the Suffocated Springbok Before Going Digestively Dormant For a Period of Six Weeks.”

At this point, my credibility with Heather was approximately nil in the snake department. This was evidenced by her silent dismissal of my latest assurance before bidding me goodnight and continuing on to bed. Which I thought was a pretty brave thing for her to do, don’t you? I mean, what the snake may have lacked in poison it more than made up with big.

I returned to the veranda and my BlackBerry for further research and discovered that, yes, there is a Spanish Boa Constrictor on Hispaniola. I suppose that could explain both his boa-like appearance and his swarthy complexion. It also caused me to amend my pat assessment the snake situation.

I also noticed that Heather quietly continued to carry the big Maglite between the house and the bungalow for the balance of her visit.


Sent vis BlackBerry by AT&T

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2 Comments on That Looks Like a Boa…

  1. m3sal says:

    Great News!! I did not have to log in again as you thought. Yoo Hoo!!

  2. Denise Hanna says:

    Hey Bill,

    See on Thursday.

    Love you tons, Denise

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