Raleighvallen Rainforest School

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We see lots of snakes, some even in our classroom.  We try to learn about them although none of us want to handle them.  Several of the workers here will noose them to catch them and then let them go nearby.  Many of these are poisonous, most mildly so.  Since there are so many snakes here learning names is not easy.  In the local language similar snakes all have the same name, differentiated by color.

Corallus hortulana

This Amazon tree boa has large eyes with vertical pupils .  There are many pattern and color variations.  It has a triangular head with a thin neck and a laterally compressed body.  The tail is prehensile helping this snake to hold on to branches.  It is nocturnal (feeds at night) and arboreal (likes trees).  The diet is mainly birds and rodents but they also eat lizards.  Not poisonous but not a very friendly looking snake .  This one was about 5ft long.  This one looks very similar to a cat-eye snake.
Scientific name, Corallus hortulana.

The snake that came to class

This tree snake decided to climb the posts of the building where we sleep and have class.   We found him when we came back from lunch.  Our classroom is on the end of the building and our deck was the first thing reached.  Maybe he wanted to come to school.

Small cat-eyed snake
This Corallus hortulana came into the building also. It is only about 12in long. You can see the large protruding eyes with vertical pupils.  This little guy was very feisty.
Siphlophis cervinus

This brightly marked snake was discovered in the rafters of a building near the river.  It is a rare nocturnal, arboreal snake usually found near water.  It does not have a common name (that we know).  Siphlophis cervinus is the scientific name.  It is probably mildly poisonous. It eats frogs and lizards--we have plenty of those.                                                                                                     *

Coral snake mimic

This small snake mimics a coral snake.  There are many coral snakes in South America and probably even more snakes that look like them.  Coral snakes are very poisonous and their bright colors warn away other animals.  We think that this one is called Erthrolampus aesculapii.

Yellow-tailed cribo

This very large snake is terrestrial and goes into holes to catch rodents.  It probably also find lots of lizards around our buildings.  We see it often as it is diurnal, it hunts during the day.  It is a constrictor, killing its prey be squeezing. It is a yellow-tailed cribo, Drymarchon corais corais.  We have also seen them deep in the forest.  It is a very friendly looking snake.  It looks a lot like the indigo snake of North America.

Drymarchon corais corais
photo by SueEllen Lawton

Red-tailed boa with perfect camouflage for the leaf littered forest floor.

We believe that this is a parrot snake, Leptophis ahetulla occidentalis.  Parrot snakes are very brightly colored inside their mouths. 

Parrot snake, (Leptophis ahetulla occidentalis?)

Close-up of parrot snake head

Two very beautiful green tree snakes: a vine snake below (and at the very top of this page),  a parrot snake above and to the right.

Vine snake Oxybelis fulgidus

This vine snake , Oxybelis fulgidus, waited very patiently by a hummingbird feeder.  It actually caught a hummingbird but someone came by and scared it and the bird flew away.  The snake came back for many days and waited patiently for another chance, until we finally trimmed the bushes back.
Special thanks to Roger Myers and Jairo Maldonado for help with snake identification.

In the middle of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, Amazonia, South America