Invasive king snake in Gran Canaria is advancing on the city

by Lorraine Williamson
King snake

So far this year, more than 1,100 specimens of the California king snake, an invasive snake species native to the United States and northern Mexico, have been captured on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria. A real plague, and not only in the countryside. The snake has also been spotted in the city.

The snake came to the island of Gran Canaria in 1998, when someone took it as a pet. The animal was released and has reproduced until it has become an invasive species. It is an ammunitive species, about 1.20 metres to 2 metres long. Since 2009, nearly 18,000 specimens have been caught. The California king snake is harmless to humans, does not attack, and is not venomous. However, it poses a serious threat to the native fauna of Gran Canaria. It is an invasive alien species that is now wiping out all native species of Gran Canaria. Such as the lizard, the Lisa, the Perenquen, and birds that are native.

Snake advancing on the city

Until recently, the snake was mainly found in ravines and rural areas, but for several months it has been common to see them in urban areas in different neighbourhoods of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In the area around the Reina Mercedes residential area in Ciudad Alta, neighbours have seen several specimens in recent weeks. “One showed up in the area of the containers and then they started looking to catch it, but they didn’t find it,” says a neighbour.

Fright and fear

Local residents are shocked and worried. Most people know that they are harmless, although some are afraid that they will bite. While it may be surprising to see them in the city, the real danger lies in the countryside, as they pose a serious threat to wildlife. They can lay 8 to 10 or 12 eggs, or even as many as 30 eggs, they reproduce very quickly.

What to do if you see a king snake

Experts recommend calling 112, or StopCulebraReal’s phone number: 608098296 if you see a snake. They recommend killing the king snakes on the spot, as they can lay up to 30 eggs each.

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