Below you will learn about the types of snakes found in the Dominican Republic.
Because of the geographic isolation of the islands, there are not as many snake species as you might expect here.
5 SNAKES that live on the Dominican Republic:
#1. Cope’s Antilles Snake
- Hypsirhynchus parvifrons
- Small, slender snake in the Dominican Republic with a light tan base coloration.
- The crown is darker brown, and a wide dark brown line extends down the center of the back, and two very dark brown to black stripes begin at the snout, go through the eyes, and extend down each side.
- Some subspecies may be uniformly dark-colored.
Cope’s Antilles Snakes are listed as a species of least concern in the Dominican Republic on the IUCN Red List.
#2. Catesby’s Pointed Snake
- Uromacer catesbyi
- Adults may grow to 6 inches or longer from snout to vent.
- Their coloration is green with a darker stripe through their eye, and they may have white, pale green, or blue sides and undersides.
- They have blunt snouts.
Also known as the Blunt-headed Hispaniolan Vine Snake, these brilliant green snakes prefer forest habitats in the Dominican Republic from sea level to 4300 feet of elevation. They were named in honor of English naturalist Mark Catesby who published the first account of flora and fauna of North America.
Catesby’s Pointed Snakes are a diurnal, arboreal species in the Dominican Republic. Researchers have found that they only come down to the ground to move quickly from bush to bush. They forage in bushes and trees and typically prey on frogs, lizards, and birds.
They spend their mornings basking in patches of sunlight. Researchers have found that these snakes are likelier to be in lower branches during the day and move farther up into trees or bushes in the evening. At night, they sleep loosely coiled near the ends of leafy branches. The female snakes lay eggs.
Catesby’s Pointed Snakes are listed as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List.
#3. Hispaniola Boa
- Chilabothrus striatus
- Adults may grow to a maximum length of 7.6 feet from snout to vent.
- Their base coloration is often pale brown, gray, or reddish brown.
- They may be patternless or virtually patternless or have 60 to 122 blotches, rhombs, or spots of gray, tan, or brown outlined with black or darker brown, which are sometimes too fused to count.
Hispaniola Boas occupy woodlands in the Dominican Republic that are hot and humid.
Hispaniola Boas are primarily nocturnal and arboreal. At night, researchers observed adults in the lower branches of trees. During the day, they often rest in branches in the shade 16 to 65 feet above the ground. They may also use limestone crevices, hollow trees, and bird nests.
The diet of these snakes appears to depend largely upon an individual’s size. Smaller snakes, less than two feet from snout to vent length, feed primarily on anoles. Individuals between 2 and 2.6 feet feed on anoles and rodents. Those individuals over 2.6 feet feed primarily on birds and rats. They may also feed on bats in areas where they’re plentiful.
Hispaniola Boas give birth to live young. The longevity of these snakes hasn’t been fully studied. A couple of individuals in captivity have reportedly reached at least 20 years of age.
Hispaniola Boas are listed as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List. Unfortunately, populations of these snakes in the Dominican Republic are largely understudied due to an unstable government and unsafe travel conditions. In addition, these snakes face threats from extensive deforestation and agricultural development in the Dominican Republic.
#4. Haitian Dwarf Boa
- Tropidophis haetianus
- Adults may grow to a maximum length of 2.3 feet from snout to vent.
- The base coloration of their body is pale tan to dark brown, and they have an unmarked brown head.
- Their back may have 44 to 57 prominent or faded spots or blotches of dull olive or pale olive to dark brown in 8 to 10 rows.
Although they are called dwarf or wood boas, these species are primitive constricting snakes in a separate family (Trophidophidae) from true boas (Boidae). They are smaller than true boas, and interestingly, their color pattern appears lighter at night than during the day.
Haitian Dwarf Boas prey primarily on lizards and frogs on the Dominican Republic. When threatened, they may flee, roll into a loose ball, emit foul-smelling musk from their cloacal glands, and auto hemorrhage, producing blood from their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Haitian Dwarf Boas are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List.
#5. Hispaniola Worm Snake
- Typhlops pusillus
Due to their rarity, the above picture is not a Hispaniola Worm Snake, although it looks very similar.
- 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 Dominican Republic.
That’s because Hispaniola Worm 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 Hispaniola Worm 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 Dominican Republic. 🙂
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.