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Old 18 February 2007, 10:13 AM
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Icon23 Paraguay swallows tall tale of husband-eating boa

A bereaved widow's story about her husband being devoured by a boa constrictor made headlines in Paraguay, but it turned out to be a tall tale by a woman who felt abandoned.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/oddlyE...46273920070215
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  #2  
Old 08 March 2007, 03:00 PM
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That's a stupid, stupid story for people to believe. No boa on earth could even remotely approach 30 feet (I believe the record is about 18.75), and no boa on earth could remotely consider devouring an adult man. I'd believe an infant, or many a small child for an enormous boa, tops. Why couldn't see say a jaguar or a cougar or something at least within the realm of possibility?
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Old 08 March 2007, 05:26 PM
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Technically, Anacondas are boas. They can take down a grown man. A huge one could probably eat a grown man too if it had enough time and privacy. But I don't find it odd that people would believe the story about a Boa Constrictor. Most people know next to nothing about snakes, but will believe just about anything they hear about them. Especially the big, evil, maneating ones I mean really, boa constrictor ssp. don't even make it into the top five for biggest snakes.

Quote:
Why couldn't see say a jaguar or a cougar or something at least within the realm of possibility?
My guess would be because a snake is the perfect pasty for a missing spouse. It would leave almost no trace of the attack. Not alot of blood, no drag marks except where it crawled away, and most importantly no carcass to find. Whereas a big cat attack, or a pack of wild dogs or anything else that would be believiable would leave a carcass.

shivaskeeper
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Old 09 March 2007, 05:18 AM
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While anacondas are technically in the family Boidae, they have their own seperate genus apart from all boas, and I have never, ever heard a keeper refer to one as a "boa". I think that locals would just as unlikely to refer to a green anaconda as one.

Besides the important fact that green anacondas don't live in Paraguay.

Now, there are a couple smaller anaconda species in Paraguay, but they're even less able to eat a person than a boa is. (I should know - once upon a time I had two 6.5' yellows. They couldn't handle much more than a rabbit).

As far as cat attacks, the lack of evidence is a decent point. Your average big cat is going to make an effort to carry away the body and stash it, but there'd be blood to be seen. I still think someone would have to be fairly crazy to go with a boa story though...
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Old 09 March 2007, 03:42 PM
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Believe me, I know the deal on the 'condas. Genus is Eunectus as opposed to a Boa Constictor which would be Boa. Two or three recognized species depending on the authourity you quote with the species E. noteaus being the one found in Paraguay. I've been keeping snakes for close to 27 years and specializing in booids for the last 15 years or so; so I have bit of background knowledge. I've had my yellow 'conda since '97. Vicious bugger too. Still a chainsaw of a snake after all these years. He is calm as can be with my wife and son, but still bites the crap out of me all the time.

I got him in Germany all those years ago and the shop owner called them "water boas" in German which is a technically correct common name. Burmese pythons were known as "tiger pythons" or "dark phase indian pythons". Even some of my older husbandy, veterinary and reference books refer to them that way. I guess it's more of a local name deal. That is why ID with the latin names. No local name confusion that way.

But the point I was trying to make and apparently very badly, was while I don't belive the story, I don't see why the locals wouldn't believe it, or the people who published the story either for that matter. I have seen news articles about boas with pics of burmese pythons representing the snake. Also anacondas mislabled as reticulated pythons and vice versa in the news. IIRC about 10 years ago I saw a ball python labeled as a reticulated python in the news. Not to long ago I saw a thing on you tube about a "giant" python that attacked a lady and the fire department had to recuse her by prying the snake off. I will see if I can find the link to that. The "giant" in question was a ball python. Snakes are "scary" and people in general will believe almost any line of bull**** told about them.

shivaskeeper
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Old 09 March 2007, 04:44 PM
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Ran out of edit time. Here is the link to the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssbnW3uhPVc

One of the things I found funny about it was the snake was a ball python, but at the end of the segment the one shown was a much larger green burmese python.

shivaskeeper
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Old 09 March 2007, 08:44 PM
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I totally agree with you that news stations cover snakes with idiocy, but all the examples you gave are possible because we live in a snake-trading society where all those different snakes are possibilities. But for someone in Paraguay where there are no retics or rock pythons or green anacondas, and the largest snake in the area probably had a head small than my hand...it's just hard to believe reasonable people buying the story.

Our two yellows were as nasty as you can imagine too. Which brings up another good point - our boas were amazingly docile. I haven't had many boas, and most of them (the rosey, rubber, and rainbow) have been on the small side, but even the two 8' boa constrictors we had were the nicest snakes ever. None of the six boas we had ever bit any of us. I don't think I've handled a wild-caught one though (other than the rubber, and that doesn't count) - are they any worse?

Pleased to see a snake collector on the site. Sorry if I was wording things a bit strongly early.
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Old 10 March 2007, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
..it's just hard to believe reasonable people buying the story.
and
Quote:
I totally agree with you that news stations cover snakes with idiocy
You collected/collect snakes. How many truly reasonable people did you meet outside the hobby? It's because the media tends to cover snakes with complete idiocy that people believe crap like this.

Quote:
Sorry if I was wording things a bit strongly early.
No apology needed.

As far as my experiances with them go, wild caughts tend to be much more aggresive/flighty. They tend to take alot of work to aclimate to captivity and handeling. Some of them never do. Wild caughts are the reason some snakes had/have a bad rep. Particularly retics, african rock pythons, blood pythons, and the mexican and argentine boas. I've worked with WC and CB of all of those except the mexican boas and the WC's can be nasty. The boas were flightly and tended to bite defensivley, the bloods and rocks seemed to be pure evil attitude. CB ones are much easier to deal with.

As for my current collection most of them follow true to form for the species reputation. With three exceptions. My rainbow boa is very snappy, my carpet python is very docile; fast moving, but docile; and one of the male ball pythons is very apt to bite.

If you are interested the current collection is: *
1.1 Argentine Boas
0.1 Brazilian Rainbow Boa
0.1 Dumeril's Boa
1.1 Rosy Boa
1.0 Yellow Anaconda
2.1 Ball Pythons
0.1 Burmese Python
1.0 Carpet Python
0.1 Reticulated Python

I need to pick up a pair of red tail boas, a pair of blood pythons and a male retic this year.

shivaskeeper

* the number indicate the sex: male.female
so 1.1 = 1 male, one female
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  #9  
Old 12 March 2007, 06:34 AM
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Yah - I know that wild-caughts in general tend to be flighty and/or aggressive, but I was asking about boas in particular because I've never really seen any agressive ones at all. I've never handled the Mexican or Argentine subspecies though. Thanks for the specific info.

I got interested in herpetology because my dad's a zookeeper and he specialized in snakes in his private collection. I broadened more into herps in general, with a focus on species native to the West coast of the US. I'm more into field observations than collecting, but I've kept herps to a varying degree for about 17 years (especially for educational purposes), until a career and residency change last year made it unfeasible. Over the years I've had:

Arboreal Salamander
Northwestern Salamander
Spotted Salamander
Rough-skinned Newt
Barred Tiger Salamander

Pacific Treefrog
Green Treefrog
White's Treefrog
Oriental Fire-bellied Toad
American Bullfrog
Green Frog
African Burrowing Bullfrog
Dwarf Clawed Frog

Ornate Box Turtle
Three-toed Box Turtle
Indochinese Box Turtle
Reeve's Turtle
Red-eared Slider

Green Anole
Mediterranean Gecko
Madagascar Day Gecko
Western Fence Lizard
Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Desert Iguana
Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard
Southern Alligator Lizard
Western Skink

Northwestern Garter Snake
Northwestern Ringneck Snake
Corn Snake
Baja Rosy Boa
Pacific Gopher Snake
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake

When I was living with my dad we also had Yellow Anacondas, Boa Constrictors (Red-Tails), a Rainbow Boa, a Rubber Boa, Great Plains Ratsnakes, and a False Water Cobra. I've also gotten into arthropods to a small degree, but not enough to really know anything at all.
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