5 Types of Snakes Found on the Bahamas! (2024)

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

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

5 SNAKES that live in the Bahamas:

#1. Bahamian Racer

  • Cubophis vudii

snakes in the bahamas

Found ONLY in the Bahamas.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults may grow almost 4 feet long and have hoods on their necks.
  • Base coloration varies widely with location and may be tan, sandy, dark brown, reddish-brown, reddish, taupe, gray, or black.
  • Their patterning is also variable, and they may be uniform in color or have patterns.

Bahamian Racers are the most common snakes in the Bahamas.

They thrive in various habitats, including mangroves, scrublands, pine woods, and lawns. These snakes vary widely in color and are also known as Brown Racers or Garden Snakes.

Bahamian Racers primarily feed on frogs and lizards but occasionally prey on birds and rodents. They use venom to help subdue their prey and are the only venomous snake in the Bahamas. However, their mild venom does not affect humans.

Bahamian Racers have an interesting method of deterring predators. They have a hood or throat skin that they can flatten. So when they feel threatened, they flatten their hood and raise the front of their body off the ground, appearing a bit like a cobra.

Bahamian Racers face pressure from invasive Corn Snakes as they both prey on the same species.

#2. Bahamian Boa

  • Chilabothrus strigilatus

snakes in the bahamas

Found ONLY in the Bahamas.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults may reach lengths up to 7.5 feet from snout to vent, with males generally smaller than females.
  • Base coloration may be gray or tan to dark brown.
  • Complex patterning of dark diamonds or angular blotches down their backs.

Bahamian Boas occupy hardwood forests, mangroves, and scrub and brush lands. They are largely arboreal and excellent climbers. Bahamian Boas are typically spotted in trees and bushes and have been known to climb up to 16 feet. These snakes have adapted well to human disturbance in the Caribbean and are sometimes found in garages and outbuildings.

Bahamian Boas are the largest terrestrial carnivores native to the Bahamas.

These large predators are sometimes called “fowl snakes” because of their taste for chickens. They also feed on rats, frogs, lizards, birds, and bats. The young snakes tend to feed almost exclusively on small lizards, while older, larger individuals seem to prefer mammalian prey.

Bahamian Boas are listed as species of least concern on the IUCN Red List. Unfortunately, their numbers are believed to be declining. Humans often kill these snakes in the Bahamas out of fear, as they’re mistaken to be dangerous or considered bad omens. They’re also killed on roadways by vehicles.

#3. Northern Bahamas Boa

  • Chilabothrus exsul

Also known as the Abaco Island Boa.

snakes in the bahamas

Found ONLY in the Bahamas.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult males may be up to 22.3 inches from snout to vent, while adult females may measure up to 31.5 inches from snout to vent.
  • They have a slender, laterally compressed body, and their head is un-patterned and distinct from their neck.
  • Their coloration is typically shades of brown to tan with darker irregular blotches, and they may have an iridescent sheen.

Northern Bahamas Boas primarily occupy hardwood forests but may also use pine forests and gardens. These snakes only live in the Bahamas on Abaco Island and Grand Bahama.

Little is known about their behavior and habits in the wild, but they are believed to be opportunistic predators that feed on lizards, small birds, and rodents. In captivity, adult snakes prey on rodents, while juveniles consume anoles.

Northern Bahamas Boas are known to be incredibly long-lived. Individuals in captivity have been recorded to live for more than 40 years. Captive individuals have successfully bred at more than 30 years old. Females give birth to litters of 2 to 11 live young.

Northern Bahamas Boas are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. These boas are sadly understudied and face threats from road mortality, predation by feral cats, and habitat loss due to tourism development.

#4. Corn Snake

  • Pantherophis guttatus

snakes in the bahamas

Found on the Caymans Islands, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 24 to 72 inches in length.
  • Coloration is orangish-brown with black-bordered orange, red, or brownish blotches and a spear-shaped pattern on the head and neck.
  • The underside usually has a black and white checkerboard pattern which may have some orange.

Unfortunately, these snakes are invasive to the Bahamas!

Corn Snakes are native to the southwestern United States. Due to their docile nature, they are incredibly popular as pets. Sadly, irresponsible pet owners let them escape, and now they have established a breeding population, which puts pressure on native snake populations in the Bahamas.

Corn Snakes got their name because of their frequent presence near corn storage areas due to an abundance of rodents hanging out at these locations. However, some sources maintain that they were named for the pattern on their underside, which sometimes looks like kernels of bi-color corn.

Corn Snakes prey on rodents, lizards, frogs, and birds and their eggs. These snakes are constrictors that squeeze and asphyxiate larger prey, but small prey may be swallowed whole without constriction.

If disturbed in the wild, they may vibrate their tail and lift the front of their body into an S-shape to appear more threatening. If grabbed or pinned, it’s not out of the question for them to bite their attacker, but they typically calm down quickly when being held.

#5. Bahamian Slender Blind Snake

  • Cubatyphlops biminiensis

Due to their rarity, the above picture is not a Bahamian Slender Blind Snake, although it looks very similar.

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 the Bahamas.

That’s because Bahamian Slender Blind Snakes 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 Bahamian Slender Blind Snakes 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 the Bahamas. 🙂

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 the Bahamas?

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