14 COMMON Snakes Found in Paraguay! (2023)

Do you want to learn about the types of snakes in Paraguay?

Types of snakes in Paraguay

If so, you’ve come to the right place. In the article below, I have listed the MOST COMMON snakes you can expect to see. Unfortunately, there are so many snakes that live in Paraguay that it would be impossible to list each one. 🙂

You’ll see that the snakes in Paraguay are very different from each other. They range from venomous species to snakes that use constriction to immobilize their prey. In addition, certain snakes are common to find living around people. For each species, you will find out how to identify that snake correctly, along with pictures, interesting facts, and range maps!

14 types of snakes in Paraguay:


#1. Yellow Anaconda

  • Eunectes notaeus

Also known as Paraguayan Anaconda, Southern Anaconda

Common Paraguay snakes

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow 330-440 cm (130-173 in) long.
  • Females are larger than males.
  • From head to tail, they are colored tan or yellow with dark streaks and overlapping blotches.

 

Yellow Anacondas are one of the largest snakes in Paraguay.

Be careful around river banks and marshlands! These huge reptiles like to loiter around wet areas in wait for passing prey. Additionally, their mottled coloring makes them almost impossible to see. They have a taste for deer, peccaries, and wading birds that they ambush from under water.

 

In the mating season, females release pheromones, attracting many suitors to compete for the chance to breed. The male snakes fight to prove their strength, and the strongest and largest snake wins the right to breed with the female. Yellow Anacondas give birth to live young, having up to 80 live babies at once!

 

Though non-venomous and non-aggressive, this species is noted for being unpredictable. There are accounts of captive snakes attacking their handlers. Therefore, it’s best to keep your distance if you find one in the wild!

 


#2. Boa Constrictor

  • Boa constrictor

Also known as Red-tailed Boa, Common Boa

Common snakes found in Paraguay

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These snakes grow 400 cm (157 in) long on average.
  • Females are longer and wider than males.
  • Coloration depends on their habitat. They can be varying shades of tan, brown, green, and even yellow or red.
  • They have distinctive geometric patterns with ovals, diamonds, bands, and stripes.

 

The Boa Constrictor is so famous it doesn’t need a common name! Instead, people easily remember it by its scientific name, Boa Constrictor! Hailing from the humid tropics, this heavyweight snake can be spotted in trees and burrows.

Don’t let its large size fool you! The Boa Constrictor is an ambush predator that can strike with blinding speed. It enjoys feasting on monkeys and wild boars. This snake is also a remarkable swimmer, so don’t be surprised to find one near a river or stream.

 

Boa Constrictors are a popular attraction in zoos all over the world. In captivity, they can live for over 40 years. They’re generally docile, but they’ll still deliver a warning bite if they feel threatened. Thankfully, they’re non-venomous.

 


#3. Giant Parrot Snake

  • Leptophis ahaetulla

Also known as Parrot Snake, Lora

Snakes of Paraguay

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These slim-bodied snakes can grow to 172 cm (68 in) long.
  • Typically, the coloration is bright green or bronze with a lighter underside. Yellow stripes are sometimes seen at the sides.
  • They have noticeably large, yellow eyes with round pupils.
  • Look for a black lining along the eyes on both sides of the head.

 

Among the trees and underbrush of Paraguay’s jungles, you might encounter what you think is a moving vine. However, a closer look would reveal it to be the Giant Parrot Snake! It’s a long, slender snake whose name refers to its vivid colors.

 

Parrot Snakes are only mildly venomous. Their fangs are set at the back of their mouths, so it’s harder for them to deliver venom. Even so, don’t tempt a bite! The bacteria in their mouths can cause a serious infection that requires medical attention.

 

Despite being narrow and seemingly harmless, Parrot Snakes are fierce predators. They hunt during daylight hours, taking down small birds and tree lizards with aggressive agility. Occasionally, if food is scarce, they are known to cannibalize each other.

 


#4. Forest Flame Snake

  • Oxyrhopus petolarius

Also known as False Coral, Calico Snake

Types of snakes in Paraguay
Credit (left image): Mateo.gable, (right image): UbiratĂŁ Souza, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • They can reach a total length of 91 cm (36 in).
  • Some specimens can mimic the patterns of coral snakes. They’re usually black with brightly colored bands in red, orange, and white shades.
  • Some are plain brown with shiny scales.
  • They have round, bulging eyes.

 

The Forest Flame Snake lives in forests, foothills, and lowlands in Paraguay. This snake is mainly a night-time hunter, stalking rodents, lizards, and sleeping birds. Sometimes, it will raid birds’ nests to feast on eggs. Its venom is particularly toxic to Anole Lizards, one of its favorite foods.

 

When the sun comes out, Forest Flame Snakes will retreat into the shade for rest. However, they like warm places, so you might find one hiding in a hollow log where it’s easier to preserve heat.

 

They are only mildly venomous snakes and pose no danger to humans. On the contrary, Forest Flame Snakes are quite calm even when handled. Their first instinct upon sensing threats is to flee instead of fight.

 


#5. Banded Cat-eyed Snake

  • Leptodeira annulata

Also known as Cat-eyed Night Snake

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These snakes are very slender. They can reach lengths of 75 cm (30 in).
  • Their eyes are large with vertical-slit pupils.
  • Coloration is typically in shades of brown, though some are yellowish or orange.
  • They have dark spots and blotches. When overlapping, these can form zigzags across the body.

 

The Banded Cat-eyed Snake often gets mistaken for a South American Bushmaster, but it’s nowhere near as venomous. Its mild venom only immobilizes its prey and has little effect on humans. You can find this snake in Paraguay near sources of water in scrublands and other forested areas.

 

Banded Cat-eyed Snakes are nocturnal hunters. In the cover of darkness, they set out to feed on unsuspecting lizards and rodents. Their semi-aquatic nature allows them to also hunt frogs and toads. During the day, they slither into the protection of hollowed logs to hide from hawks.

 

These docile snakes seldom bite, even when handled. They always try to escape first upon suspecting danger. If cornered, they will secrete a putrid odor against predators. Cover your nose!

 


#6. Patagonian Racer

  • Philodryas patagoniensis

Also known as Patagonia Green Racer

Credit (left image): Frederico de Alcântara Menezes, Arthur Diesel Abegg, Bruno Rocha da Silva, Francisco Luís Franco, Renato Neves Feio, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These are slender-bodied snakes growing up to 150 cm (59 in) long.
  • They have big, round pupils, rounded snouts, and prominent scaled markings from head to tail.
  • Coloration is various shades of olive green or brown. Their bellies are white.

 

The Patagonian Racer is a widespread snake in Paraguay.

It lives in steppes and grasslands across the continent. This reptile is not considered venomous, but it does have toxic saliva. It has a nasty bite, so it’s best to observe this snake from a distance.

 

Juvenile Patagonian Racers prefer cold-blooded prey like frogs and lizards. Adults, on the other hand, prefer warm-blooded prey such as birds and small mammals. They spend most of their time hunting in trees during the day. At night, they retreat to land crevices to avoid Barn Owls.

 

This stealthy snake has a habit of startling hikers with its astounding burst of speed! It can blend almost perfectly into the forest floor or tree cover.

 


#7. Yellow-bellied Liophis

  • Erythrolamprus poecilogyrus
Credit (left image): Otavio A.V. Marques, (right image): Otavio A.V. Marques, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These snakes can grow between 55-100 cm (22-39 in) long.
  • Some specimens mimic the striped patterns of more venomous snakes.
  • As their name implies, they have yellow-colored undersides. The rest of their bodies are commonly a solid brown, olive, or black.

 

Yellow-bellied Liophises are speedy snakes you can find racing on dry land and grass fields. They are skilled swimmers, too, staying in shallow water to feed on frogs and toads. While adults eat lizards and small mammals, babies prefer tadpoles and insects.

 

This fascinating snake has adaptations to help it survive, both as a predator and as prey. For example, the Yellow-bellied Liophis will vomit to protect itself if it accidentally swallows a poisonous animal. Another handy defense mechanism is mimicking the colors of venomous coral snakes. In truth, this species is generally harmless. Still, it will bite when irritated, so don’t test your luck!

 

The unique appearance of Yellow-bellied Liophises makes them popular in the pet trade. They’re bred to produce even more diverse color patterns.

 


#8. Yarará Lancehead

  • Bothrops jararaca

Also known as Jararaca, Yarará

Credit (left image): Fausto E. Barbo, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults can reach lengths of 60-160 cm (24-63 in).
  • Their heads are flat with sharp ridges that meet towards the front. You can spot a dark marking behind each eye, running back to the angle of the mouth.
  • Coloration varies significantly. These include brown, gray, olive, and yellow with trapezoidal markings.

 

If you find a snake in the forests of Paraguay, be extra cautious of the Yarará Lancehead. You wouldn’t want to meet this highly venomous and aggressive species. It’s responsible for many snake bites because it frequents agricultural fields while searching for food.

 

Lanceheads are ambush predators. They blend well on the forest floor, waiting to catch unsuspecting rodents. Juvenile Yararás use their white-colored tail tips to lure frogs and arthropods. Once they strike, they bite to inject their potent venom, which quickly kills the prey.

 

Astonishingly, this viper’s venom has helped save lives! Despite being deadly on its own, it was used to create the world’s first ACE inhibitor. This drug is used to treat patients with high blood pressure and certain types of heart failure.

 


#9. Neotropical Rattlesnake

  • Crotalus durissus

Also known as South American Rattlesnake, Central American Rattlesnake, Cascabel Rattlesnake, Guiana Rattlesnake, Aruba Island Rattlesnake

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are typically 150 cm (59 in) long on average.
  • There is a prominent stripe at the base of their heads, intersecting each eye.
  • Scales protrude from their body.
  • They usually appear in shades of brown and gray. Sometimes, patterns of diamonds and triangles form across the body. Bellies are yellowish or white.

 

Neotropical Rattlesnakes in Paraguay are residents of grasslands and tropical forests.

You might also find them in drier areas if a shortage of prey drives them to find food. These snakes are most active at dusk, stalking rodents and other reptiles. They’re equipped with heat-sensing pits below their eyes to track down prey.

These rattlesnakes are dangerously venomous. Left untreated, bite victims can experience muscle paralysis and difficulty breathing. In the worst cases, victims can end up with organ failure and death. Therefore, if you receive a bite from a Neotropical Rattlesnake, it’s vital to get medical help as soon as possible.

 

A Neotropical Rattlesnake can move with remarkable speed, but its first instinct is not to attack. To warn you, it might make a rattling sound with its tail or raise its forebody into a defensive striking posture. When this happens, it’s best to respect the warning, back away slowly, and then leave the area.

 


#10. Urutu Lancehead

  • Bothrops alternatus

Also known as Urutu, Crossed Pit Viper, Wutu

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults reach 80-120 cm (31-47 in) in length.
  • Their heads are distinctly broad and lance-shaped.
  • They’re brown, olive, and gray with a unique “mirrored” body pattern that can form cross-like shapes enclosed in large blotches.

 

Widely found in swamps and rainforests, the Urutu Lancehead is a member of the pit viper family. This highly venomous snake is drawn to the body heat of its prey using special organs in its head called “pits.” It blends into leaf litter to sneak up on unsuspecting mammals like opossums and mice.

 

Urutu Lancheads are short-tempered, contributing to many bites in humans. Its venom can cause serious tissue damage around the the bite wound. In severe cases, amputation of the affected limb is needed. Go to a hospital immediately if you find yourself bitten by this snake!

 

Although they usually live far away from civilization, Urutu Lanceheads can stray into farmlands in search of prey. Sadly, farmers are often forced to kill these snakes to protect their livestock.

 


#11. False Water Cobra

  • Hydrodynastes gigas

Also known as False Cobra, Brazilian Smooth Snake, South American Water Cobra

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are typically 200 cm (79 in) long but occasionally up to 300 cm (118 in).
  • They can flatten their necks and other sections of their bodies.
  • Typical coloration is olive or brown, patterned with dark spots and bands. Undersides are lighter in color.

 

False Water Cobras favor the high humidity of forests and marshlands. Here, they are highly alert hunters preying on fish and amphibians in the daytime. Take note of how unpredictable these snakes can be. Some individuals are mild-mannered, while others can be quite aggressive. To be safe, it’s best to observe this species from a distance.

 

As their name suggests, False Water Cobras aren’t true cobras. They can, however, puff up their neck and flatten the skin to mimic a cobra’s hood. You can tell them apart because False Water Cobras can’t raise their forebodies off the ground as real cobras do.

 

False Water Cobras are unique because their fangs don’t hold a large amount of venom. As a result, they must repeatedly chew on their prey to incapacitate it. Consequently, bites on humans are usually not serious since we can get away before this happens. Symptoms may include swelling and bouts of muscle paralysis, so it’s still important to see a doctor.

 


#12. Painted Lancehead

  • Bothrops diporus
Credit (left image): Silvio Montani, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • On average, adults are 65 cm (26 in) long, but rare specimens nearly double that length have occurred.
  • Their heads are flat and lance-shaped.
  • Brown and gray colors are common. You’ll also notice dark trapezoids, triangles, and blotches alternating along the body.

 

These abundant snakes in Paraguay are well known for their intricate patterns and dangerous venom.

The Painted Lancehead is hard to spot on land because of how well it can camouflage itself. As such, it’s highly successful in catching passing frogs, lizards, and rodents.

 

Painted Lancheads, like other pit vipers, have special heat-sensing pits below their eyes. These pits allow them to find warm-blooded animals before they can see them. Of course, since humans are warm-blooded, they will sense you if you’re in range, too!

 

Great caution is advised when dealing with Painted Lanceheads. They are highly venomous, and untreated bites occasionally kill humans. If you encounter one, don’t attempt to confront or trap it because you’ll only make it angry! Back away from the snake slowly and leave the area instead.

 


#13. Leopard Keelback

  • Helicops leopardinus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These small snakes are only 48-100 cm (19-39 in) long.
  • They have slender, tapered tails.
  • Their base colors are usually black, brown, or gray. They have a series of dark orange or yellow spots and bands.

 

If you find yourself in the wetlands of Paraguay, you may have an encounter with the Leopard Keelback. This nocturnal species has quite a temper, so try not to disturb it! The good news is their bite is non-venomous. Pain and swelling are the worst symptoms, but a bite from one of these angry snakes would put a damper on your hike.

 

Leopard Keelbacks are great swimmers, even in fast-flowing streams. They take advantage of aquatic plants as cover to sneak up on unwary frogs and fish.

 

Unlike most reptiles, female Leopard Keelbacks are viviparous. This means they give birth to live young! Birthing cycles coincide with rainy seasons to take advantage of flooding. When the young Leopard Keelbacks are born, they hitch a ride on floating plants to ensure a large range and distribution. How fun!

 


#14. Brazilian Lancehead

  • Bothrops moojeni

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These heavy-bodied snakes are about 160-230 cm (63-91 in) long.
  • They have broad, lance-shaped heads.
  • The coloring is gray, brown, and olive. Body markings are a series of trapezoids or triangles in contrasting colors.

 

Paraguay’s forests are home to this snake, a particularly angry member of the pit viper family. Stay alert around streams! The Brazilian Lancehead likes to keep a water source nearby. At night, it lurks in lush vegetation, feeding on small mammals, birds, and amphibians.

 

Young Lanceheads tend to latch on to their prey, biting and not letting go until the victim is incapacitated. As they grow, they learn to release their bite to avoid injury from flailing prey. Instead, they track their victim down again as the animal succumbs to the venom.

 

Brazilian Lancehead venom causes immediate pain. It also thins the blood, causing dangerous internal bleeding in bite victims. In the worst cases, stroke and death are possible. Seek immediate treatment if you get bitten!

 


Please check out these guides to other animals found in Paraguay!

 


Which of these snakes have you seen before in Paraguay?

 

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