Woodcock Nature Center welcomes new boa

WILTON — Woodcock Nature Center’s latest resident is quite a looker, with a delicate, oval-shaped head and flashy red markings on her tail.

Indira is a Colombian red-tailed boa constrictor who recently arrived at the nature center. She was named in a flash contest over the Valentine’s/Presidents Day weekend.

Contest participants were given a choice of four names on which to vote:

Chiri, short for Chiribiquete Natioal Park, the largest tropical rain forest national park in the world.

Kiri, inspired by Colombian artist Shakira.

Astoria, the wife of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series.

Indira, the reasoning being “a powerful female snake deserves a strong name and notable namesake — Indira Ghandi.)

There were 248 responses and Indira came in first with 91, follwed by Chiri with 75, Chiri with 46, and Astoria with 28.

Indira’s only six months old and about 14 inches or so, but when she grows up she will be six to eight feet long and the largest snake at the nature center.

“We got her through a breeder, purposefully adding to our teaching animals,” said Executive Director Lenore Herbst. “These snakes tend to be docile,” she said, adding the nature center wanted a snake that was used to being handled.

At five feet, Monty the python is presently the nature center’s largest animal following the death last year of Edna, the Savannah monitor lizard. Monty is getting up in years, however, and the nature center staff wanted an animal with a little more “wow” factor.

Other flashy snakes, such as the green tree python with its almost electric color, are not good for touching, said educator Jennifer Bradshaw, which is why the decision was made to go with the boa constrictor.

According to snakemuseum.com, female red-tailed boas grow to be larger than males. They are native to Central and Latin America and some islands in the Caribbean.

Right now, Indira is getting used to her new surroundings and eating mice the nature center receives specifically bred and frozen for the feeding of captive snakes. When she is full grown, Indira will eat up to eight rats a month.

Because she has been bred to live in captivity, Indira does not have the natural instinct to hunt for her food.

Indira should be with the nature center for quite some time, since red-tailed boas can live 35 to 40 years in captivity.