Toni the Wowla

From Sharon . . .


Toni the wowla is a wonderfully mega-awesome addition to The Belize Zoo. Reaching over 8 feet in length, this beautiful boa constrictor is going to add an exciting element to the zoo’s on site education program.

Too often, these harmless snakes are killed, and for no good reason other than they are feared, or misunderstood. Some people incorrectly believe that the boa constrictor is the “mother of all snakes”, and can even give birth to poisonous youngsters. The boa constrictor, our largest species of snake in Belize, growing up to 13 feet in length, is non-venomous. And do they ever love rats!, yes! Nothing pleases a hungry wowla more than squeezing a rat and then having it for dinner. For this natural history habit alone, the boa constrictor deserves a a declaration of thanks from us all. Too many rats can lead to all kinds of problems. We are lucky to have rat-seeking Belizean animals, such as the wowla, to keep our rodent populations in check.

Not-so-Tiny-Toni is a gentle and people-friendly boa constrictor. She will have a special place in the zoo. A large, outdoor wowla-house is going to be her home, and undoubtedly, she will become a popular “must see” for all zoo visitors. Toni loves the water, and to ensure her contentment, zoo staff are busily constructing a pond in her new quarters.Where did she come from? The Belize Zoo maintains a working collaboration with the fabulous up-and-coming Belize Herpetarium, located in Belmopan City. Under the direction of brothers Tony and Joe Garel, this important facility (soon to open), will serve to excite and educate all visitors about the dynamic reptile fauna of Belize. Toni the wowla was a gift from the Belize Herpetarium to The Belize Zoo.

With such a prominent profile, Toni the wowla will hopefully contribute to some important objectives on the Belize Zoo agenda: Let’s not kill our harmless and ecological beneficial boa constrictors. Let’s not promote them as animals to exploit, i.e. allowing them to be caught and eaten for viewers of foreign-based television programs, let’s not see the local media show dead boa constrictors as “curios” for the local viewing audience. These unfortunate incidences have occurred here, and in recent times. The boa constrictor is a special part of our Belizean natural herita walk-away feeling of admiration for all wowlas, is guaranteed.

Remember: The Belize Zoo hasrecently "remodeled" its web site! Check out the great new format, and be sure to visit often. You will find some excellent new features, such as links to Wild Belize with Sharon Matola, podcasts from the director of the "best little zoo in the world," along with regularly updated Newsletter segments and Messages from the Director. Get all your most up to date TBZ content from the new and improved web site, http://www.belizezoo.org. This blog will occasionally post, so feel free to stop back once in a while. Meanwhile, see you at the ZOO!

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