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Woodsnakes and Spinejaw Snakes: Tropidophiidae

Physical Characteristics

The woodsnakes and spinejaw snakes are small-to-medium-sized snakes that resemble boas. Colors range from gray to brown, and most have faint blotches or stripes. Some have smooth scales, and others have scales with ridges, or keels. Among those with smooth scales, the Oaxacan dwarf boa has scales that shine different colors depending on how the light hits them. Scales that do this are known as iridescent (IH-rih-DEH-sent). On the other hand, some members of this family have dull-looking scales with noticeable keels. The Cuban black and white dwarf boa even has scales that change color from darker during the daytime to lighter at night.

The smallest member of this family is the Cuban dusky trope, which reaches at most 12 inches (30 centimeters) long. The largest is the dusky dwarf boa, which can grow to 41 inches (104 centimeters) in length.

Some people believe that this family should be split in two with one keeping the name Tropidophiidae and the other falling under a new family called Ungaliophiidae. Occasionally, some books will place these snakes under the family Boidae, but although some have the common name of dwarf boas, they are not actually boas.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesWoodsnakes 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