List of Snakes of Trinidad and Tobago

List of Snakes (Order: Squamata Suborder: Serpentes)
Family: Aniliidae - Pipe Snakes
Family: Boidae - Boas and Pythons
Family: Colubridae - Harmless Snakes
Family: Elapidae- Coral Snakes, Cobras, Mambas
Family: Leptotyphlopidae - Thread Snakes
Family: Typhlopidae - Blind Snakes
Family: Viperidae - Pit Vipers (Mapepires)

Snakes are legless, eyelidless reptiles that have a lizard ancestor. This is evident through the existence of snake-like lizards with reduced legs or no legs, and snakes, particularly the boas and pythons, having residual limbs in the form of anal claws. They usually have elongated bodies and jaws modified for eating relatively large prey. All snakes are predators and some have specialized mechanisms for capturing prey which includes the use of constrictive coils and venom injected by specialized teeth supplied with toxic saliva from specially adapted salivary glands. There are about 2,400 species of snakes in 420 genera and 11 families inhibiting the planet. Trinidad and Tobago has representatives of seven families and a total of 47 species, there being 44 in Trinidad and 21 in Tobago, 3 of which are unique to that island.


Family: Aniliidae - Pipe Snakes
Specialized family of burrowing snakes with flattened head, little narrowing in the neck region, cylindrical body and short tail. These snakes are moderate in size, growing up to about 1 m. The scales are smooth and usually brightly colored - red or yellow - with irregular glossy black crossbars. They feed mostly on amphibians and reptiles.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Trinidad
Tobago
Anilius scytale scytale
Burrowing False Coral, Rouleau
X

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Family: Boidae - Boas and Pythons
This family contains some of the largest and best known snakes in the world. Besides their geographical distribution and some anatomical differences, boas differ from pythons in that they do not lay eggs in the usual way. The embryos are retained in the body of the female in a shell-less sac until simultaneous hatching and birth, a condition known as ovoviviparity. Vestiges of hind limbs are present in these snakes, evidence of limbed ancestor. The external claw -like structures tend to be larger in males than females and are used by males of some species during courtship.

Boas and pythons comprise about 21 genera with about 66 species. Four species of boa occur in Trinidad, including the anaconda, the largest boid. Three of the species occurring  in Trinidad are also to be found in Tobago. These snakes are relatively large and their feeding on rats and mice, tend to follow human habitation. They are therefore frequently encountered and best recognized of the local snakes.  These snakes are generally placid in disposition and some species are popular pets.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Trinidad
Tobago
Boa constrictor constrictor
Macajuel, Boa Constrictor
X
X
Corallus ruschenbergerli
Cascabel Dormillon, Tree Boa
X
X
Epicrates cenchria maurus
Rainbow Boa
X
X
Eunectes murinus gigas
Huille, Anaconda
X

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Family: Colubridae - Harmless Snakes
The family is composed of what is describes as "harmless snakes". While most species are considered harmless, some have mild venom, and a few can make humans sick or even kill, because of secretion from a specialized gland. This oral gland known as Duvernoy's gland, produces enzymes and other molecules that assist the snake in subduing and digesting prey. Secretions for this gland are released during feeding and are usually not delivered during a defensive bite.

Approximately 70% of the world's snakes belong to this family, with about 300 genera and 1,600 species. Trinidad and Tobago has 33 species of colubrids representing 24 genera, grouped into three subfamilies.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Trinidad
Tobago
Atractus trilineatus
Three-lined Ground Snake
X
X
Atractus univattatus
Tobago one-lined Ground Snake
X
Chironius carinatus carinatus
Machete Savane
X
Chironius multiventris septentrionalis
Long tailed Machete Savane
X
Chironius scurrulus
Smooth Machete Savane
X
Clelia clelia clelia
Black Cribo, Mussurana
X
Dipsas variegata trinitatis
Snail Eating Snake
X
Drymarchon corais corais
Yellow-tail Cribo
X
X
Erythrolamprus aesculapii
False Coral
X
Erythrolamprus bizona
False Coral
X
Erythrolamprus ocellatus
Tobago False Coral, Red Snake
X
Helicops angulatus
Water Mapepire
X
Hydrops triangularis neglectus
Water Coral
X
Imantodes cenchoa cenchoa
Mapepire Corde Violon, Fiddle-String Snake
X
X
Leptodeira annulata ashmeadi
False Mapipire
X
X
Leptophis ahaetulla coeruleodorsus
Lora, Parrot Snake
X
X
Leptophis stimsoni
Gray Lora
X
Liophis cobellus cobellus
Mangrove Snake, Mapepire Mangue
X
Liophis melanotus nesos
Beh Belle Chemin, Doctor Snake
X
X
Liophis reginae zweifeli
High Woods Coral
X
X
Mastigodryas boddaerti boddaerti
Machete Couesse
X
Mastigodryas boddaerti dunni
Machete Couesse
X
Ninia atrata
Red-nape Snake, Ring Neck Snake
X
X
Oxybelis aeneus
Horsewhip
X
X
Oxyrhopus petola petola
False Coral
X
X
Pseudoboa neuwiedii
Ratonel
X
X
Pseustes poecilonotus polylepis Dos Cocorite
Pseustes sulphureus sulphureus
Yellow-bellied Puffing Snake
X
Sibon nebulata nebulata
Clouded Snake
X
X
Siphlophis cervinus
Chekerbelly
X
Spilotes pullatus pullatus
Tigre, Tigro
X
X
Tantilla melanocephala
Black-headed Snake
X
X
Thamnodynastes sp.
Striped Swamp Snake
X
Tripanurgos compressus
Mapepire De Fe
X

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Family: Elapidae - Coral Snakes, Cobras, Mambas
Elpidae is comprised of about 240 species in 61 genera. This family includes cobras, mambas and corals snakes, all of which have hollow, fixed front fangs for venom delivery.   These fangs cannot be erected like those of true vipers belonging to the Viperidae family.  Instead, Elapids must actually bite their prey instead of stabbing at it like a true viper.  Two species of coral snakes occur in Trinidad, none are found in Tobago.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Trinidad
Tobago
Micrurus circinalis
Common Coral Snake
X
Micrurus lemniscatus diutius
Large Coral Snake
X

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Family: Leptotyphlopidae - Thread Snakes
Small, slender, burrowing snakes frequently associated with ants and termites which they feed on, and are not capable of biting a human. These snakes are slender and wormlike and are often mistaken for earthworms. They live in arid areas of  tropical rain forests. This family contains the world's smallest snake.  Most species suck out the contents of insect bodies and discard the skin.  Leptotyphlopidae has two genera containing about 78 species. Only one species occur in Trinidad.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Trinidad
Tobago
Leptotyphlops albifrons
Ground Puppy
X

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Family: Typhlopidae - Blind Snakes
Small, burrowing, wormlike snakes. Like Leptotyphlopids tend to be associated with ants and termites, which they feed on. Typhlopidae includes three genera, containing about 170 species. Three species occur in Trinidad one of which also occurs in Tobago.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Trinidad
Tobago
Helminthophis sp.
Yellow-head Ground Puppy
X
Typhlops brongersmianus
Burrowing Snake
X
Typhlops trinitatus
Trinidad Burrowing Snake
X
X

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Family: Viperidae - Pit Vipers (Mapepires)
Vipers tend to be stout, short-tailed snakes with numerous heavily keeled scales. They have folding front fangs connected to a venom gland and many are dangerously venomous to humans. The pit vipers are so called because they possess an infrared (heat) sensing pit located between the eye and the nostril. The pit is a sense organ used to locate prey and direct feeding strikes.

There are 14 genera and about 187 species of viperidae. Two species representing two genera occur in Trinidad, none are found in Tobago.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Trinidad
Tobago
Bothrops atrox
Mapepire Balsain, Fer-de-lance
X
Lachesis muta muta
Mapepire Zanana, Bushmaster
X

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Source: Boos, Hans E.A. (2001), The Snakes of Trinidad and Tobago,
Texas A&M University Press, College Station

http://www.tamu.edu/upress