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WATCH: Rare 5.5-Foot Boa Shows Up in Brazil After 64 Years

Feb 16, 2017 05:23 AM EST
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One of the world's rarest boas, the Cropan boa, has evaded human contact for a total of 64 years - until now.

According to a report from National Geographic, there was a public campaign in São Paulo, Brazil for locals to help find the elusive Cropan boa. Last Jan. 21, the campaign finally paid off as a group of farmers discovered a 5.5-foot female Cropan boa in the Ribeira Valley, part of the Atlantic Forest. Decades ago, there were several of them in this area, but photographer Jonne Roriz said that this has been the first live sighting of the mysterious species since 1953.

One of the reasons of the Cropan boa's elusiveness is the potential danger snakes pose to people. Locals who come across one often opt to kill it, so scientists have only been able to study dead Cropan boas for the past several decades.

As a result, little is known of this shy creature. The non-venomous boa is quite striking with a yellowish belly and black diamond patterns on its back, according to a report from Science Magazine. Deep sensory pits line its lips, and it likely eats small mammals and birds.

Robert Henderson, curator emeritus of the Milwaukee Public Museum, described closely-related species of the boa as "rather bitey."

He added, "The snakes have to drag their prey from the ground up into the tree where they eat it, so they need to be able to hold on and not drop their food."

This recent discovery -- even just a single one -- gives scientists the opportunity to take a closer look at the little-known snake. It was inspected by scientists, then implanted with a radio tracker before being released back in the valley. Researchers are hoping this will provide them with new data about the life of the Cropan boa.

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