Surprising serpents show up!

The last few days have found a few interesting, and rarely seen, species of snakes appear in and around Las Guacamayas. The first was a swamp snake (Tretanorhinus nigroluteus) that was found by one of the workers in the water down at the dock.

Then over the period of a couple of days two Mexican mussarana’s (Clelia scytalina) were found in the grounds (shown in photo above).

The first was under some rubble that was being cleared up, the second was nestled in the root ball of a plant outside the dining room!

This is a very poorly known species with only a handful of individuals recorded from scattered locations in Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. We have now found three at Las Guacamayas, the first time the species has been officially recorded in the department of Peten!

Next to turn up was a milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum), a brightly coloured mimic of the highly venomous coral snakes. The differences are very subtle, and really come down to the arrangements of various scales, and usually the order of the black, red and yellow bands.

As teenager, with a growing fascination in snakes, the milk snake was in my mind one of the most exotic looking animals in my various books. To have found one in the wild is a childhood dream come true!

Finally, last night at about 18:30 as I returned to Las Guacamayas after a sunset walk in the forest I found another coral snake mimic crossing the path in front of me. This time it was a black and orange banded snail eating snake (Tropidodipsas sartorii). A perfect way to end a pre-dinner walk!

Rowland Griffin
Tropidodipsas sartorii snail-eating snake

Tropidodipsas sartorii, snail-eating snake

Lampropeltis triangulum milk snake

Lampropeltis triangulum, milk snake

Published : 19th November 2013

Field Notes Archive

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