Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Dinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles » Woodsnakes and Spinejaw Snakes: Tropidophiidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Southern Bromeliad Woodsnake (ungaliophis Panamensis): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, SPINEJAW SNAKES WOODSNAKES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVA

Woodsnakes and Spinejaw Snakes: Tropidophiidae - Southern Bromeliad Woodsnake (ungaliophis Panamensis): Species Account

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Physical characteristics: Also known as the bromeliad boa, bromeliad dwarf boa, and banana boa, the southern bromeliad woodsnake is a thin, light gray or tan snake with black triangular marks on its back. It has smooth scales along its body with one large scale on top of its snout. Adults reach about 30 inches (76 centimeters) in length.


Geographic range: They live in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama in Central America and also in Colombia in northern South America.


Habitat: It lives in a variety of forests, except those of the mountains, often crawling among the plants that grow on the upper branches and high up in the trunks of trees. It also spends considerable time on the ground.

Much of the information about southern bromeliad woodsnakes comes from captive snakes rather than those in the wild. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: In captivity, southern bromeliad woodsnakes will eat lizards or rodents, although young snakes typically will only eat lizards. Scientists know little about their diet in the wild, but it probably includes lizards and frogs.


Behavior and reproduction: A mild-mannered snake, this species does not bite human handlers. Even when threatened, it will not bite and instead simply coils into a ball to wait for the danger to pass. It has another defense, however, which it will use if it feels particularly frightened. That defense is an ooze that seeps from its vent and has a strong enough smell to scare off most attackers. Females do not lay eggs and instead have baby snakes. The young are about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long at birth. Scientists know little else about this snake's behavior or reproduction.


Southern bromeliad woodsnakes and people: People rarely see this snake in the wild or in pet stores.


Conservation status: Scientists know so little about this snake, including how many of them live in the wild, that they cannot make any statements about its conservation status. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books

Brazaitis, P., and M. Watanabe. Snakes of the World. New York: Crescent Books, 1992.

Burnie, David, and Don Wilson, eds. The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. New York: DK Publishing, 2001.

Crother, Brian I., ed. Caribbean Amphibians and Reptiles. San Diego: Academic Press, 1999.

Duellman, William E., ed. The South American Herpetofauna: Its Origin, Evolution and Dispersal. Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, Number 7. Lawrence: The University of Kansas, 1979.

Greene, Harry W. Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Lamar, W. The World's Most Spectacular Reptiles and Amphibians. Tampa, FL: World Publications, 1997.

McDiarmid, Roy W., Jonathan A. Campbell, and T'Shaka A. Touré. Snake Species of the World. Washington, DC: The Herpetologists' League, 1999.

Schwartz, Albert, and Robert W. Henderson. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1991.

Tolson, P. J., and R. W. Henderson. The Natural History of West Indian Boas. Taunton: R & A Publishing Limited, 1993.

Zug, G. R., L. J. Vitt, and J. P. Caldwell. Herpetology. 5th ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 2001.

Web sites

"Talking Taino: Lizards and Snakes." Times of the Islands. Summer 2004. http://www.timespub.tc/Natural%20History/Archive/Summer2003/ttsnake.htm (accessed on September 15, 2004).

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