By Chloe Kim
BBC News, New York
Harrison Ford’s legendary Indiana Jones character may fear snakes, but the actor now has a real reptile named after him.
A new found species of snake in Peru has been named Tachymenoides harrisonfordi to honour the actor’s environmental advocacy.
Ford, who is the vice chair of non-profit group Conservation International, called it “humbling”.
The actor also has an ant and a spider named after him.
“These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it’s always the ones that terrify children,” Ford told Conservation International. “I don’t understand. I spend my free time cross-stitching. I sing lullabies to my basil plants, so they won’t fear the night.”
Unlike his character, Indiana Jones, Ford has repeatedly said he actually liked snakes and “found a quick kinship with this one”.
“The snake’s got eyes you can drown in, and he spends most of the day sunning himself by a pool of dirty water — we probably would’ve been friends in the early ’60s,” he said. “It’s a reminder that there’s still so much to learn about our wild world – and that humans are one small part of an impossibly vast biosphere,”
The discovery, a joint collaboration between researchers from Peru and the United States, was made in Peru’s Otishi National Park.
The Tachymenoides harrisonfordi is a slender snake, measuring a modest 16in (40.6cm) when fully grown. It is not harmful to humans.
“For a biologist, describing a new species and making it public with its new name is one of the most vital activities during the biodiversity crisis,” said Edgar Lehr, the lead scientist on the project. “Only organisms that are known can be protected.”
He hopes the discovery will draw attention to the extinction crisis facing species around the world.
Reptiles are particularly prone to extinction, with more than a fifth of all reptiles currently under threat, a study co-authored by Conservation International researchers found.
It was in 1993 that a new species was first named after Ford – the Calponia harrisonfordi, which is a California spider. Years later, an ant was dubbed after the actor – named Pheidole harrisonfordi.