A Visit from the Snake Expert

Snake Expert Jim Knight shows off a boa to students in Pedasi
Snake Expert Jim Knight shows off a boa to students in Pedasi

Which snakes bite harder, males or females? This was one of the many questions asked by the fourth graders of the Pedasi Elementary School during the “Snake Talk” given by herpetologist Jim Knight.

Azuero Earth Project welcomes snake expert Jim Knight and his wife, Karin Knight who will be conducting research in the region.   After years of working in universities and museums, Jim is now taking advantage of his retirement to explore and identify the snakes of Azuero. Recognizing that Tropical Dry Forests are among the most threatened ecosystems in the world, Jim emphasizes that there is an incredible amount of undiscovered biodiversity in the Azuero peninsula. A comprehensive survey of reptile species has not yet been conducted in Azuero, meaning that in the short time that Jim was on his preliminary visit, he encountered several species that had never before been reported in the region! Jim emphasized the crucial importance of wildlife surveys such as these in order to implement conservation projects… if there is no baseline survey, we would have no way to monitor possible changes from global warming and shifting climate factors.

As part of their visit, Jim and Karin gave a lecture in the Pedasi elementary school. In addition to donating copies of his book, Jim brought a live boa, much to the delight (and terror!) of some of the students. The students thoroughly enjoyed the class, as seen by the variety and quantity of questions, some of which included: do little snakes have more venom that big snakes and how exactly do baby snakes eat?

Oh, and in case you were wondering… female snakes do bite harder… but only because they are usually larger in order to carry their eggs.

For more information on the snakes of Azuero, check out Jim’s book. To get involved in research and conservation projects with Azuero Earth Project, click here. 

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