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Sunbeam Snakes: Xenopeltidae


Scientists have only studied the diet of the common sunbeam snake, which eats lizards, frogs, and snakes, as well as small mammals and birds. The snake is a very fast eater, swallowing its prey more quickly than most other snakes can. Scientists have not studied the other species.


Scientists sometimes refer to some species, such as the sunbeam snakes, as being relicts (REH-lihkts). Relict species are those that now live in a much smaller area than they once did. Typically, they have been on Earth for a very long time compared to other similar animals and have a set of features—usually something in the skeleton—that is similar to that seen in ancient animals, many of which are known only from their fossils. In some cases, relicts now live in widely separated areas, because the species in between died out over the years.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesSunbeam Snakes: Xenopeltidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Sunbeam Snakes And People, Common Sunbeam Snake (xenopeltis Unicolor): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, CONSERVATION STATUS