Paraguayan Barking Snake

Dubious Snake of South America.

Variant name: Mboi-yagua ("tiger snake"), probably Guarani (Tupi), although alleged to be Paraguayan Spanish (yagua comes close to the Spanish yaguar, "jaguar").

Physical description: Length, 10 feet. Doglike head. Swollen abdomen. Four needle-sharp hooks on its tail.


Behavior: Barks like a dog.

Distribution: Upper Rio Parana, Paraguay.

Significant sighting: In February 1972, government surveyors brought a specimen of this snake from the jungle to the Botanical and Zoological Garden in Asuncion, where it was kept.

Probable explanation: Journalistic misunderstanding and mistranslation of the term Mboi-yagua as "dog snake" instead of "tiger snake," the Guarani Indian name for the Anaconda (Eu-nectes murinus). The specimen caught was pregnant, hence the swollen abdomen.

Sources: "The Paraguayan Monster," Pursuit, no. 20 (October 1972): 86-87; "The Paraguayan 'Barking Snake,'" Pursuit, no. 21 (January 1973): 14.

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