5 Mar 2011

Wildlife experts in American Samoa urge locals not to harm protected snake

12:26 pm on 5 March 2011

Wildlife experts in American Samoa have issued a plea for people not to attack a rare, protected snake.

A Pacific Boa has been found dead, apparently beaten with a shovel.

The snake, which is harmless, is native to American Samoa, Samoa and Fiji.

Sightings are rare and the dead snake, found on a wharf on Ta'u, is the first one seen up close by the staff of the Department of Marine and Wildlife in years.

Chief wildlife biologist, Lainie Berry, has urged residents that if they cross paths with the Pacific Boa snake, not to harm it.

"It is not dangerous. It has no venom. It kills its prey by squeezing prey like a python, so it can't harm people, it won't bite people. Its diet is, it eats rats, mice, birds and lizards. It's a very special snake."