" The picture by Troy Hibbitts showing extensive black pigment on the dorsal surface of the boa is undoubtedly due to burn damage and not small mammal injuries. That black also occurs with small mammal injuries but the black is usually quite small and associated with a visible scar or distortion of the scalation where the wound occurred then healed. In the case of burns, often the scalation is perfect where the burn wounds occurred as only the scales and upper layer of skin seems to be affected and thus the snake easily replaces those injuries with perfect scalation. Where tissue below the skin is affected and damaged, that is when the wound heals in a more irregular fashion leaving a detectable scar with non-uniform scalation. One in particular at the Raab site showed extensive black pigmentation once her burn injury healed. I had found her with the superficial burn like marks before they had healed. I have observed this same situation in a few boas from other areas as well and it is my best guess that like the one female at Raab, all such injuries, where extensive black pigmentation occurs and no abnormal scalation is observable, are due to fire or burn injuries. . . . Thus, though no tests have been conducted per se, I have been left with the inescapable conclusion that such extensive back dorsal pigmentation is cause by burns. I have also noted such spots now and then on boas where I have put out tins capture placements and suggest that they sometimes get singed by the hot tins."
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© 2001 by Ryan Hoyer.