2 Types of Snakes Found on Turks and Caicos! (2024)

Below you will learn about the types of snakes found in Turks and Caicos.

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

2 SNAKES that live in the Turks and Caicos islands:

#1. Southern Bahamas Boa

  • Chilabothrus chrysogaster

Also known as the Turks and Caicos Islands Boa, Bahamas Cat Boa, Rainbow Snake, Fowl Snake, or Rainbow Boa.

snakes in turks and caicos

Found ONLY on the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Identifying Characteristics

  • Adults average 32 inches in length, but individuals up to 70 inches have been recorded.
  • Adults are typically gray and dark brown and may be seen in one of three color phases; spotted, striped, or patternless.
  • Spotted morphs appear to be the most common and feature varying amounts of irregular blotches, which vary in shade, while striped phase snakes have four darker stripes, two down their back and one down each side.

Southern Bahamas Boas are typically found in tropical dry forests or scrubland with high amounts of large flat rocks. They’re nocturnal, hiding under rocks during the day, and like other boas, are non-venomous. They actively forage for lizards, birds, and rodents to find food. These snakes are relatively long-lived; a few captive individuals have reached 27 years of age.

Unfortunately, these beautiful snakes face several threats and are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List. The primary threat is predation from domestic cats, which have been introduced to the islands where the snakes live.

Southern Bahamas Boas are also persecuted and killed by humans who often believe them to be venomous, harmful, or even demonic. Lastly, these snakes face habitat loss as the Turks and Caicos Islands rapidly develop. Scientists believe that they have already been extirpated from parts of their former range.

#2. Ambergris Cay Dwarf Boa

  • Tropidophis greenwayi

snakes in turks and caicos

Found ONLY on the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult males average about 8.9 inches, while females are typically between 9.8 and 10.4 inches in length though individuals up to 15 inches have been recorded.
  • Color and pattern vary, but adults typically feature a grayish-tan body with a darker head and two rows of dark brown blotches outlined in lighter gray down their back.
  • They have an orange tail tip.

These small snakes are only found in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Ambergris Cay Dwarf Boas are relatively shy, secretive snakes. Their specific name (greenwayi) honors James Cowan Greenway, an American ornithologist with a similar reputation for reclusiveness whose work was instrumental in bird conservation.

Ambergris Cay Dwarf Boas are typically found in rocky, limestone areas. Like other boas, they are nonvenomous. They may actively hunt prey or use a technique called caudal luring. Using this method, they lay motionless in leaf litter or loose sand with their bright orange tail sticking out and moving. The tips are mistaken for an insect by their prey.

Their diets consist primarily of anoles and geckos. Once their prey is close, Ambergris Cay Dwarf Boas seize and constrict it.

Unfortunately, Ambergris Cay Dwarf Boas are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Introduced predators, including cats, rats, dogs, and mongooses, have had a serious impact. Heavy commercial collections in the 1960s and 1970s also caused declines, especially on the smaller islands. Today, one of the biggest threats they face is habitat loss due to commercial development for tourism.

Which of these snakes have you seen before in Turks and Caicos?

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