Zoology

An Overview of Central American Snakes and their Habitats



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Many Central American countries provide the ideal location for cold blooded creatures, such as snakes. The rain forests provide a perfect habitat for snakes to lurk, and each Central American country has an active snake population.

In Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras, snakes are thriving and more commonly found. Costa Rica has a staggering 135 different species of snakes, and some of these can deliver a lethal dose of venom if they are able to bite. However, it is important to remember that snakes have venom simply to defend themselves and to attack prey and that humans are actually rarely bitten by snakes.

Some of the most common snakes discovered in this beautiful part of the world are:

Colubrids (Latin name Colubridae)

Over half of the snakes on earth are a member of the Colubridae family, yet only a few types of Colubrids are dangerous to people. They are found in, or close to, the water, where they will be found feeding on mollusks, amphibians, reptiles and even fish. Common varieties are the False Pit Vipers and the Hog-Nosed Snakes.
Their fangs are all set towards the rear of their mouths, and they are solid in form.

Elapids (Latin name Elapidae)

These snakes tend to have tubular fangs towards the front of the mouth, and are far more likely to deliver a fatal bite. Some of the most dangerous snakes are included in this family, including the Pacific Sea Snake, which, despite having a reputation as being highly dangerous, is actually quite a shy creature, and will tend to keep out of the way of people. The Coral Snakes will be found on the ground, amongst leaves and the forest floor, but other varieties have adapted to live within the water, such as the Pacific Sea Snake.

Vipers (Latin name Viperidae)

Vipers have the most highly developed system for producing venom. They have hinged fangs at the front of their mouth, which are also of a tubular form, and they fold back when the mouth is closed. The rattlesnake is a member of this family, and is prevalent in Central America. Temperate species of viper will hibernate during the winter, often moving around during the other seasons, but many will be mobile all year, some on land, and others within water.

Pit Vipers (Latin name - Crotadilae)

This family is primarily made up of coral snakes. These are generally bright in color, with bands of red, white, black and yellow. They are small-headed and blunt in the tail, making it easy for them to survive amongst rocky regions, and amongst leaves. They are also commonly found close to riverbanks, lowland forests, or along the coast. They are one of the most versatile variants of snakes, with abilities to live on desert scrubs, or within lush vegetation.

An important thing to remember, no matter where you live, is that in today's society, the natural habitats of snakes are being drastically damaged and destroyed.
This in turn, means that these animals are being forced into territory that is unfamiliar to them, and causing danger to their population.

Stay green, help to combat climate change, and keep these beautiful, valuable members of our food chain alive and well, in the conditions that they require.

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More about this author: Sinead Mckenzie

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