3 Types of Snakes Found on Saint Lucía! (2024)

Below you will learn about the types of snakes found in Saint Lucía.

Because of the geographic isolation of the islands, there are not as many snake species as you might expect here.

3 SNAKES that live in Saint Lucía:

#1. Santa Lucía Boa Constrictor

  • Boa orophias

snakes in saint lucia

Found only in Saint Lucia.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults may be between 20 inches and 14 feet in length and are more slender than other boa species.
  • Pale to medium brown backs, gray flanks, and 27 to 31 large dark brown saddle patches and some paler areas.
  • They have a dark line through their eye and down their cheek, and the entire snake may have a metallic gleam in certain light.

These snakes, locally called Tet Chyenn or Dog’s Head for their distinctive head shape, are ONLY found on the mountainous volcanic island of Saint Lucía. This island was once covered in large tracts of humid rainforest that were ideal habitats for Santa Lucía Boa Constrictors.

Today, much of that rainforest has been cut down. However, these boas can still be found in various habitats on the island, including forested areas, cultivated fields, and ravines from sea level up to 1,650 feet of elevation. In addition, they are frequently found in trees.

snakes in saint lucia

Santa Lucía Boa Constrictors are incredible predators, able to lunge up to 1/3 of their body length. They feed on birds and mammals, including rats, cats, rabbits, bats, opossums, and mongooses. As their name suggests, they grab their prey with their jaws and then constrict them with their strong coils, killing the prey before swallowing it.

Santa Lucía Boa Constrictors are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. These big snakes are threatened in Saint Lucía by habitat loss, pollution, invasive predators, and human persecution. They have received some protection from the Saint Lucía Forestry Department, which can fine anyone found to be endangering or harming a Santa Lucía Boa Constrictor. However, they are still commonly killed out of fear or for food or medicine.

#2. Saint Lucía Lancehead

  • Bothrops caribbaeus

Also called St. Lucia Fer-de-Lances or St. Lucia Vipers.

snakes in saint lucia

Found only in Saint Lucia.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults may grow up to 6 feet in length or more.
  • Their coloration is typically olive, olive-gray, or olive-brown, with darker brown blotches that are often almost obsolete.
  • Their bellies are typically whitish or yellowish.

Saint Lucia Lanceheads are mostly terrestrial but are occasionally observed in trees. They occupy rainforests and some other habitats on Saint Lucía.

Saint Lucia Lanceheads are venomous and use their venom to subdue their prey. They have heat-sensing pits that help them to detect their food. Adult snakes feed on rats, mice, and occasionally mongooses, manicou, and birds. Young snakes often feed on smaller prey, such as large insects, frogs, and lizards.

Bites on humans are extremely rare, and only one has ever been reported. However, the victim had serious symptoms, including pain, edema, bleeding, swelling, necrosis, cerebral ischemia, facial hemiplegia, and paralysis.

Saint Lucia Lanceheads are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Human persecution is one of the largest threats facing these snakes in Saint Lucía. They are often killed out of fear. They also face other issues like habitat loss.

#3. St. Lucia Threadsnake

  • Tetracheilostoma breuili
snakes in st. lucia
By Blair Hedges, Penn State, Attribution

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 5.1-10.2 cm (2-4 in) long.
  • The body shape is worm-like, and they are easily mistaken for earthworms.

It is really hard to see these SMALL snakes in Saint Lucia.

That’s because St. Lucia Threadsnakes spend the majority of their life underground. To find one, you typically must look in moist soil and under logs and stones. Even then, these snakes are so small they are easy to miss.

Because St. Lucia Threadsnakes spend most of their life underground, they don’t have very good eyesight. Take one look at them, and you will notice they look more like small worms than the other snakes that live in Saint Lucia. 🙂

There isn’t a lot known about their abundance, ecology, or distribution due to their secretive nature. But their main source of food tends to be the larvae of ants and termites.

Despite its rather creepy appearance, this snake is completely harmless to humans.

Which of these snakes have you seen before in Saint Lucía?

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