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LATIN AMERICA

Snakes in a park force closure to public in Buenos Aires

Reptiles are entering urban areas through drains in the wake of heavy December floods

Park authorities have not yet announced a date for re-opening.
Park authorities have not yet announced a date for re-opening.Ricardo Ceppi
More information
Una plaga de víboras obliga a cerrar un parque público en Buenos Aires

Parque Costanera, a Buenos Aires park along River Plate, has had to close its doors to citizens due to an invasion of snakes.This is the second such plague the area has faced in the aftermath of heavy December floods along the coast, which caused islands of water lilies to float down the Buenos Aires estuary, bringing with them reptilian pests.

The park’s Facebook profile announced that it would close on February 18 due to the presence of serpents, which would pose a “very big risk for users if the park were to stay open under such conditions.” Snakes were found in the grass and in the whirlpools by which scooters roll by every day. All evidence suggests they enter the park through drainpipes that empty into the river.

Snakes were found in the grass and in the whirlpools by which scooters roll by every day

Parque Costanera has become a popular playground for Buenos Aires skaters since it opened in October 2013 on the site of the former Saint Tropez Park. The 7.5 hectares of recreational space offer areas for residents to practice longboard, mountain biking, slackline and rock climbing. Visitors can enjoy 350 meters of coastline and a view over the river.

But the park has had difficulty keeping its doors open over the last few months. Flooding in the Mesopotamia region in the north-east of Argentina in December brought down islands of water lilies with their resident snakes, spiders, mice and otters. Berisso, a community an hour outside of Buenos Aires, has banned bathing, lodging and camping at seaside resorts along its 23 kilometer coastline.

On February 22, a 12-year-old girl was bitten by a venomous serpent while sunbathing nearby. The child was not in mortal danger since the animal did not release its poison but ophidians have become an unexpected concern for residents in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area.

English version by Dyane Jean Francois.

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