The New York Post reports that a new species of the reptile was found in Peru’s Andes Mountains by Peruvian and American researchers. The snake has since been named Tachymenoides harrisonfordi.
“This discovery is humbling,” the actor told the Hollywood Reporter.
The snake was actually found last May, but its name wasn't revealed until Tuesday in the scientific journal Salamandra. A single male was found sunbathing in a swamp in the Otishi National Park in May 2022. It’s described as being 16 inches in length and has a yellow and brown body, a black belly, and a vertical streak over a copper-colored eye. While apparently innocuous to people, it does eat lizards and frogs.
The snake was named after Ford for two reasons: Indiana Jones’ well-known ophidiophobia—or fear of snakes—and Ford’s longtime work in the environmental space. The 81-year-old has been the vice chair of the organization Conservation International since 2019, which focuses on conservation news.
“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,” Ford joked in a statement. “These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it’s always the ones that terrify children. 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.”
Ford continued his statement on a more serious note, saying, “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. On this planet, all fates are intertwined, and right now, one million species are teetering on the edge of oblivion. We have an existential mandate to mend our broken relationship with nature and protect the places that sustain life.”
Ford has two other creatures named after him: an ant called Pheidole harrisonfordi, and a spider, Calponia harrisonfordi.
It’s a fact that while Indiana Jones is often courageous, that fearlessness doesn’t extend to snakes. Near the start of 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, the main character divulges his phobia in the famous line, “Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?!”
Ford recently starred in the franchise's first movie in 15 years, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.