As beautiful as The Bahamas and their people are, enthusiasts of all things scaly will often be left disappointed by the distinct aversion towards snakes. Sadly, a lot of people will get out of the way to make sure the snake innocently basking on the sun-soaked road will not see tomorrow. This hostility is a direct result of a lack of understanding of the animal and how to behave around it. Many people falsely believe that Bahamian snakes are dangerous and non-essential which are major reasons why snakes are persecuted. In order to clear up these misconceptions, we have recently started an initiative at the Cape Eleuthera Institute to actively engage with the public and promote peaceful coexistence with snakes.

The Cape Eleuthera Institute works closely with the local communities and additionally welcomes thousands of international visitor per year. As such, there is a huge potential to inform many people and clear up misconceptions about snakes in The Bahamas. We put a particular focus on working with the local schools to educate the youth about snakes and how important they are, to ensure their protection in the long term. It is really important to promote snake conservation with the younger crowds and to have them interact with snakes in a safe and informative environment. Once the kids have had the opportunity to interact with these magnificent animals they quickly realise that snakes are not malicious or to be feared but actually truly unique and beautiful animals. In only a very short of running this programme, we have seen many people lose their discomfort around snakes and develop a much-needed respect for these animals.

We are currently in the process of maximising our conservation impact by collaborating with important local conservation partners and creating an even more effective and engaging initiative.

Bahamian snakes are all completely harmless and ecologically extremely important. They control pests such as rats and therefore stop diseases from spreading and entering people’s homes. A lot of these snakes are endemic to the region, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world and should be regarded as national treasures worth protecting.