Friday, March 4, 2011

"Treasure Hunting" Snake Stolen from Mumbai Zoo

A red sand boa. Photo courtesy:

For the first time in its 150-year history, the Mumbai zoo has recorded a daring theft -- a live Red Sand Boa snake, which some wrongly believe can lead to hidden treasures. The Red Sand boas are also known as Smooth Sand Boa, Smooth-scaled Sand Boa, Brown Sand Boa, John's Earth Snake, Two-headed Snake, or Black Earth Boa.

Zoo officials noticed the non-poisonous, two-feet long snake missing last weekend. Wildlife experts say the commonly found Red Sand Boa is coveted by many in the belief that it can lead to hidden treasures. "This is humbug with no basis whatsoever," said an expert Ashwin M.A.

Adult red sand boas rarely exceed two feet in length (61 cm), although they sometimes reach 3 feet (91 cm). Adapted to burrowing, the head is wedge-shaped with narrow nostrils and very small eyes. The body is cylindrical in shape with small polished scales. The tail, which is blunt, rounded and not distinct from the body, appears truncated. Coloration varies from reddish-brown to dull yellow-tan.

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