5 of the Most Unique Caribbean Snakes!

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: May 5, 2022
Image Credit somyot pattana/Shutterstock.com
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Most Exotic Islands - Ambergris Caye in Belize
Some of the most unique snakes in the world reside in the Caribbean.

Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com

Although many of us might not see them often, the most unique snakes in the world reside in the Caribbean. With over 60 varied species of snakes, you can expect to see an eclectic mix of land and sea snakes in the Caribbean. Some are large constrictors, while others are so small that they could be mistaken for a worm! Although they are all cool in their own right, let’s look at five of the most unique Caribbean snakes!

5 Most Unique Caribbean Snakes

5. Arrhyton

Arrhyton
The Arrhyton is a new world snake exclusive to Cuba.

Wyvern J. Wynderunner / Creative Commons – License

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The Arrhyton snake, also known as “island racers,” is a new world snake that was found in Cuba. It is a small snake, and it belongs to the Colubridae family, with 9 other subspecies. It is barely a foot long and has a small, dark head. There is a white band separating its body pattern, which is typically a grayish-brown color. This snake and its subspecies have been identified recently and are still being observed to this day. Although it is exclusive to Cuba, it is slowly taking over the area. This snake is nonvenomous and will likely be spotted hanging around the coastal regions of Cuba.

4. Barbados Thread snake

threadsnake
The Barbados thread snake is the smallest snake species.

somyot pattana/Shutterstock.com

The Barbados thread snake is a species of thread snake and is the smallest species of snake there is! It belongs to the Leptotyphlopidae family and can only be spotted on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Since this snake is so small, its diet consists of mostly termites and ant larvae. This snake likely requires a forest-like habitat to survive, which Barbados lacks, unfortunately. Because of this, the Barbados thread snake has been restricted to only living on the eastern side of Barbados. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will ever see it!

3. Conception Bank Boa

The Conception Bank boa, commonly known as the “silver boa,” is a species of snake that can be found on the Conception Island bank in the Bahamas. It belongs to the Boidae family and is nonvenomous, dwelling on land and inside of trees. It was named after its distinct silver coloring. In fact, the first time this species was identified was inside a silver palm tree. The Silver Boa can grow up to 3 feet long and is mostly a tannish-silver color with cream-colored ventral scales.

Sadly, this truly unique snake species has been labeled as Critically Endangered. This is due to habitat loss and threats from other species. Fortunately, there is some protection for this snake since part of the Conception Bank Island belongs to a national park. Also, the island itself is relatively remote, so no outside dangers can pose a threat to this stunning reptile.


2. Puerto Rican Boa

Puerto Rican Boa
The Puerto Rican Boa is a large constrictor that can reach up to 9 feet in length.

Mike Morel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / public domain

The Puerto Rican boa is a large species of boa snake native to Puerto Rico. It belongs to the Boidae family and does not have a subspecies. It is nonvenomous and kills its prey by constriction, feeding off small birds, rodents, and other small mammals. This incredibly large snake can grow over 9 feet in length! It is typically a deep brown color with tan markings. You can spot it dwelling on land near trees. It can even be spotted hanging from branches at times or near a cave opening. Thankfully at this time, the Puerto Rican Boa is not endangered and continues to thrive to this day!

1. Bothrops Atrox

Bothrops Atrox
Also known as the Common Lancehead, this snake is long and lethal.

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The Bothrops atrox, or the “common lancehead,” is a highly venomous pit viper snake belonging to the Viperidae family. It does not have a subspecies and can typically be found in the tropical lowlands on the northern side of South America. It grows up to 50 inches in length and is heavy-bodied. The largest specimen ever recorded totaled just over 5 feet in length. Its colors range from olive, gray, brown, and tan, with variable dark and light markings. The belly may be cream-colored or a yellowish gray, while its tongue is always black. Its eyes are typically bronze or gold. It can birth up to 80 offspring at once and breeds all year round!

The Bothrops atrox hunts rodents near plantations, such as banana and coffee plantations. Although not often, they have been known to strike workers there. They are known to lie low and camouflage for a while before they strike. When they do, it is at a high speed and often unavoidable. Once bitten, the venom has been known to cause abnormal blood clotting and kidney failure. In rare cases, it can even cause hemorrhaging in the central nervous system. Although this is an incredibly dangerous species, it is equally as fascinating too!

In Conclusion

Bahamas idyllic beach
The Bahamas has white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It is also home to some of the most unique snake species.

iStock.com/poladamonte

While there are many species of snakes living in the Caribbean, some very rare, a substantial portion of them are endangered. This is mostly due to habitat loss. To protect these fascinating creatures, it is important for you to do your part in keeping a safe habitat for them to thrive. The first step is understanding how snakes support our ecosystem. The next step is understanding and respecting the habitats and habits of the snakes.

Also, make sure you educate yourself on any snakes that might be in your area. It is important to note that most snake species are non-aggressive and will not try to harm you, even if stumbled upon. Suppose you come across a snake, slowly back away a safe distance of at least 3 feet, and calmly exit the area. Never handle or harass the snake. This is what typically leads to attacks against humans.

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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