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Splitjaw Snake: Bolyeriidae


A picky eater, the keel-scaled splitjaw snake eats little other than lizards, especially the day gecko and two types of skink. The splitjaw catches the slender and often-quick lizards during the day by remaining motionless and waiting for a lizard to accidentally come too close. The snake then strikes out and grabs the passing lizard. At night the splitjaw tries a different method. It hunts down the lizards using its senses of smell and sight. While holding most of its body close to the ground, the snake raises up its head a few inches (6 centimeters or so) and flicks its tongue. The tongue picks up scent chemicals in the air. It then slowly sneaks up on the lizard by slithering forward almost in a straight line, and when it gets near enough, strikes out to grab the animal.


How do snakes, such as the keel-scaled splitjaw, get to islands? Although most people do not consider snakes to be swimmers, many of them can swim quite well for at least short distances. This explains how they reach islands close to shore, but sometimes snakes are found on islands far out in the ocean. In this case, some of them may have floated by climbing onto a large branch that was broken off a coastline tree and fell into the surf, or possibly they may have stowed away on a boat or a plane and slithered on shore after landing on the island. Another possibility is that a bird snatched up a snake on the mainland and held it in its claws to kill and eat later, only to accidentally drop it when it was flying over an island. Even though snakes can reach islands in many ways, some islands still have few, if any, of these animals. For example, only one species of land-living snake occurs on Hawaii. The snake, called the Brahminy blind snake, came to Hawaii from Asia probably in a shipping carton.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesSplitjaw Snake: Bolyeriidae - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status - SPLITJAW SNAKES AND PEOPLE