Snakes Alive! A world first in Costa Rica

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    Last Saturday I witnessed a world first.

    In saying that it also means that I witnessed a first for Costa rica, a first for Central America, also a first for  South America.  A trilogy of firsts all before ten am on a weekend. Not bad.

    As most days go here in our life in Costa Rica, amazing things just happen. And they just keep on happening. Sometimes I feel like I am Alice in Wonderland.

    So I take my son to the reptile park for his morning of volunteer work to be greeted by the founder/ owner of Reptilandia whom was moving around like a very excited little boy at Christmas.

    The smile on his face was huge and his eyes were shining.

    He invited us to come around to the office as he proceeded to pull out a box from a cupboard ( so I thought but then learnt it was a controlled environment space ) to show us sixteen white snake eggs with six of them having black shiny slippery looking heads poking out of them.

    These heads belonged to the breed of the Boelen Python hailing from Papau New Guinea.

    And right in front of our eyes they were hatching.

    Quetzal, the owner of Reptilandia has been waiting for five years for this moment.

    This is the first hatching from said mother python for Quetzal, the first hatching in Costa Rica and the first hatching for Central and South America.

    The Boelens natural habitat is the highlands of Papua and keeping them in captivity is difficult as they need a cooler constant environment.

    Given too much warmth, being a cold blooded reptile, the python becomes addicted to the sun so they will often stay too long out in the heat given the chance.

    Problem Solving

    How Reptilandia got around the problem was to have an area for sunning that was sparse. By keeping the sunning area sparse and void of cosy hiding places the Python is forced back into the cooler air conditioned area for safety.

    Once she had laid her eggs seventy one days before they hatched, she would go out into the basking area for about five minutes, heat herself up, return to her eggs, wrap herself around them and in a shiver type motion transfer the heat from herself to the eggs.

    There has only been a few successful hatchings outside of Papua New Guinea.  About two in the US and one in Sweden with a man named Federick.

    Twin Snakes

    The final count of babies from sixteen eggs was seventeen babies with one egg producing twins.

    We had the extreme luck of witnessing one baby python using its egg tooth to slit open a side of the egg and push its head out an opening on the opposite side of the first cut.

    Just like needing to have two holes in a coconut to drink the water by releasing the pressure it seems that the baby snakes need to do the same with their eggs.

    Cute as buttons I felt I was in my own personal version of Jurassic park.  I wanted to reach in the box and cradle those eggs and make cooing noises until they all came out.  It can take as long as a whole day for a Python to slither fully out of its egg.

    Performing its own form of cesarean procedures they are very self sufficient and with a 101 % success rate my sons boss is a very happy man indeed.

    From Mother to Mother

    Taking myself and the mother of the other boy whom also works on the weekends at Reptilandia, our sons showed us the proud mother Python where she very powerfully rose her head and stared directly into my eyes as if she knew exactly what was happening in the next room.

    I was under her spell. In that moment I understood why my son was so fascinated with snakes.

    They possess in them, in the way they move, in the piercing of their ancient eyes a power that is way beyond the human comprehension. Hailing from the depths of the forest their fabric of life is entwined in the perfection of nature’s systems that keeps on turning with or without us here.

    In that moment that I saw her look into my eyes I felt she was looking straight into my soul. The soul of a mother and the soul of a living being that too needs to find her place in the greater scheme of life in all of its perfection.

    Hailing originally from Australia, Melissa Boord has been traveling the world on and off for the past twenty five years. A blogger, chocolate maker, clothes designer and freshwater lover, her biggest passion is raising her beautiful and wild son with the world as their classroom. She is currently living in Costa Rica and writing her first book. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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