Dominican Republic

Casa de Campo’s infamous Hispaniola Boa finds new home in an Ecovillage in Bayacanes

hispaniola boa

This post is also available in: Spanish

hispaniola boa

UPDATE: We have just heard from Cecil DeHaas that the Hispaniola Boa is now being taken to the Zoologico Nacional (National Zoo) in Santo Domingo and NOT the Ecovillage in Bayacanes.

Last Sunday the 2nd of September, Casa de Campo Living, Casa de Campo’s news and events website (that’s us) broke a story about a Hispaniola Boa snake which was found on the riverbank of the Marina Casa de Campo and was later adopted by Cecil DeHaas. Since then, the news was picked up by essentially every newspaper in the Dominican Republic, twisting and changing the story along the way, turning a small story about a small(ish) snake – into BIG news and an even bigger snake – and as a result the infamous Hispaniola Boa has now found a new home in an Ecovillage in Bayacanes called  “Aldea-Ecologica La Casa Verde” the Zoologico Nacional (National Zoo) in Santo Domingo. 

Haga click aquí para leer este artículo en Español! 

At this point it is good to note that the reason this snake has become such BIG national news is because (large) snake sightings in the Dominican Republic are EXTREMELY rare – so don’t be alarmed, the probability of seeing a snake like this is very very very small.  

Here we bring you the complete and factual story of the Hispaniola Boa found on the riverbank of the Marina Casa de Campo (NOT within the commercial area of the Marina), as well as an interview with the snake’s previous owner, Cecil DeHaas, manager of La Cantina restaurant in Altos de Chavón, Casa de Campo.

August 15th, 2012: The Hispaniola Boa was found by the Marina Casa de Campo dock handlers on the river shore (NOT in the actual dock of the Marina Casa de Campo or anywhere near the commercial areas). It was captured and later adopted by Cecil DeHaas, who took it to his apartment in Altos de Chavón.

hispaniola boaSunday September 2nd, 2012: Casa de Campo Living (that’s us) published a factually correct article about the Hispaniola Boa.
Click here to read the original article.

Tuesday September 4th, 2012: The “news” was picked up by numerous online Dominican news sources, who used a little poetic license in repeating the story – with small untruths, such as; the snake was found inside the dock in the Marina, that she has become an actual tourist attraction in Altos de Chavón and that she weighs 15 pounds – NONE of which are true!

Wednesday September 5th, 2012: Having been contacted by “snake enthusiasts” from across the Dominican Republic, as well as from Miami and even New York, Cecil was contacted by an Ecovillage in Bayacanes – who have now adopted the Hispaniola Boa themselves and have enrolled her in a “breeding program”.
[UPDATE: the Hispaniola Boa is now being taken to the Zoologico Nacional (National Zoo) in Santo Domingo.]

And so because this is obviously a VERY popular story, here we bring you our interview with Cecil DeHaas – with all the details:

@cdcliving: Please tell us about the Hispaniola Boa

Cecil DeHaas: She is a Hispaniola Boa, a native species to the Dominican Republic, it is a constrictor, not venomous. It is the largest of the native species of snakes and has been known to grow up to four meters (thirteen feet). This one is close to six feet long and weighs about five pounds. Hispaniola Boas eat rodents, and birds – which are actually really bad for agriculture, making Hispaniola Boas a great alternative to chemicals when it comes to pest control. (In India, they have Cobras in the rice paddies to control mice and rats.) This snake was found at the water’s edge by the Chavon river, where I assume she was trying to get to the White Heron chicks that often fall into the river from the nests in the mangroves. Hence, nowhere near the shops or residences at the Marina Casa de Campo.

The Hispaniola Boa in Cecil’s apartment in Altos de Chavónhispaniola boa

@cdcliving: Is she dangerous? Did her being found in the Marina cause any alarm?

Cecil DeHaas: Oh yes, she’s extremely dangerous – but only if you’re a bird or a rodent, haha! The only people who were alarmed were the ones who found her, snakes aren’t very popular in Dominican culture. There’s a bunch of myths and urban legends involving serpents.

@cdcliving: Some national press reported that tourists can visit her, is that true?

Cecil DeHaas: It was in a bunch of newspapers and blogs, I was really kind of amazed by how big this got. The snake was in a large tank in my living room, never on display at the restaurant. One of the publications, in the Diario Libre said she weighed fifteen pounds! More proof of “don’t believe everything you read”. [Unless it’s on Casa de Campo Living – we try our best to ensure that what we publish is true!]

@cdcliving: Since we broke this story on Sunday, it’s got a lot of press – how has that affected you and your business?

Cecil DeHaas: It really hasn’t affected buisiness, but we have had a lot of people coming in asking to see her, saying they read or heard about it somewhere. But the weekend is coming up! We’ll see what happens then.

@cdcliving: We hear that she is going to a breeding program in La Vega?

Cecil DeHaas: I was contacted by someone who lives at an Ecovillage in Bayacanes, they have a multicultural space where they educate about the value and importance of our environment. I’m really happy she’s going to a place where she will be respected and well cared for, and hopefully will play a great roll in preserving a native species. She’s on her way to Santo Domingo now, and will be taken to her new home on Friday.
[UPDATE: the Hispaniola Boa is now being taken to the Zoologico Nacional (National Zoo) in Santo Domingo.]

hispaniola boa

@cdcliving: Once at the breeding program in La Vega what do they plan on doing with her?

Cecil DeHaas: Hopefully she’ll have lots and lots of pretty Epicrates Striatus babies!

@cdcliving: You run a business in Altos de Chavón called La Cantina? 

Cecil DeHaas: La Cantina is a fairly new additon to Altos de Chavon, frequented by Casa de Campo residents and the art students from The School of Design. We serve traditional Dominican food, as well as salads and sandwiches. It’s a cozy place to have a meal or grab a nice cold beer!

To read our review on La Cantina in Altos de Chavón, click here!


If you would like to publish this news, may we humbly recommend a (factually correct) SUMMARY, giving credit to with a link back to this article.

Giving credit is not just polite, but it is the right thing to do.

Thank you! 

Y si tienen dificultad con la traducción – haga click aquí para leer el artículo ya publicado tambien en Español.

A nice piece of news for wildlife-lovers….

Critically endangered Hawksbill turtle nests at Minitas Beach!

hawksbill turtle

In the early hours of Sunday morning the 5th of August 2012, a Hawksbill turtle was spotted nesting right here in Casa de Campo on Minitas Beach!

Click here for photos and the full story!

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