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Silver Boa: Facts About The Extremely Rare Snake That Shines Like Metal

Jun 01, 2016 10:37 AM EDT

Behold the magnificent silver boa!

A team of herpetologists from the University of North Carolina Asheville recently discovered a new species of boa by accident.

As shared by Dr. Graham Reynolds, the lead researcher of the study, they were originally looking for lizards when they came across the snake by surprise.

"Sometime around 3:30 in the morning, I woke up to something crawling across my face," he told National Geographic.

After sending DNA samples to the lab for analysis, it was revealed that the snake is a new species, traced from their closest known relatives about 2.7 million years ago.

The discovery is deemed remarkable as it has been 58 years since new populations of taxonomically distinct boas have been found in the region where it was discovered.

Below are some facts you need to know about it:

Reynolds called it the Conception Bank silver boa named after Conception Island Bank, Bahamas where it was found.

The Conception Bank silver boa comes from a group of nonvenomous snakes. There are only about 36 species in this group.

The Conception Bank silver boa averages about 37 to 43 inches in length from the tip of its snout to the urogenital vent. The tail is about 8 inches (20 cm) long, IBTimes noted.


The Conception Bank silver boa is unique because of its stunning silver color. According to the paper, the upper (or dorsal) surface of the body is silver gray to very light tan, occasionally with a very faint gray dorsal stripe extending the length of the spine with jagged edges and occasional interruption. The lower (ventral) surface is pure cream white with no markings or other coloration.

This snake is considered critically endangered and is one of the most endangered boa species globally, according to criteria from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

Dr. Robert Henderson from the Milwaukee Museum of Natural History, one of the world's experts on boas, told Sci News that the discovery is remarkable and newsworthy.

"The beautiful silver boa, already possibly critically endangered, reminds us that important discoveries are still waiting to be made, and it provides the people of the Bahamas another reason to be proud of the natural wonders of their island nation."

The study is published in Breviora.

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