25 October, 2014

Snake OnThe Beach

While we admit to being focused on our construction project, there are times when tropical Belize gets our attention.  Such was the case about 3 weeks ago when we looked out from the veranda (where we spend most of our waking hours) and spotted an unusual long green thing on the beach amongst the drying Sargassum seaweed.  Now, we often see a green iguana making its way up and down the beach, but this was much longer than the iguana.  As you undoubtedly surmised from the title of this post, we had a snake on the beach!
A green vine snake (Oxybelis fulgidus) close to the water's edge.
 These snakes are native to Central and the northern part of South America.
They can reach up to 2 meters (6.5 ft) in length; I reckon this one was around 1.5 meters (5 ft) long.
Its slow, sinuous glides moved it remarkably quickly across the sand and various sticks and logs.  
It would stop periodically and raise its head up off the ground. 
Flicking its green tongue to taste the air for me as I stalked it with my camera.
It has a long pointy head.
That pointy head houses its rear fangs.  It preys upon small rodents and lizards. From above, it bites them on their heads and lifts them into the air until the quick-acting venom works before swallowing them.  

Even thought they are venomous, green vine snakes are not dangerous to humans, unless you happen to be a particularly stupid human and stick your finger down its throat.   Even then the bite normally causes at most a little numbness.  Of course if you are particularly stupid and also terribly unlucky, then you could have an allergic reaction that might be more serious.  Not being stupid, I kept my fingers on my camera.  ;-)
Still trying to check me out.
I back off from it a little bit and it decides to continue on its way toward a Noni tree.
Still testing the air now and again.  Look at that beautiful pale yellow strip down it side.
You can really see how slender it is in this shot.
 I circled around from the other side for another angle.
A lovely ribbon of green.
Snazzy dark green line through its eye and there is that forked green tongue!
 It made a break for the Noni trunk and was up the tree in a flash.
Seeming to climb straight up the tree trunk.
 This is a very agile snake.
I took photos as quickly as I could, but the snake was quite at home in the tree and too soon was up in the leaves.  My last view of this beauty was this:
A well-camouflaged snake.
We have seen this snake before and I hope will see it again.  They spend most of their time in trees and after eating they retire to a tree top for little rest.  I like to imagine that this one is frequently looking down on us from the tropical almond tree in front of our cabana.

References:  Wikipedia and Venomous Snakes and Their Mimics of Panama and Costa Rica (Ray and Knight).


  1. Wow, what a beauty. Fantastic colour, and a real treat of an encounter.

  2. That's a great looking snake Wilma. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Carol and I will be in Costa Rica in February, is this a species we might see there?

    1. Yes, they are in Costa Rica. Check out this facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Snake-Panama
      Many snakes common to Panama and Costa Rica. Where will you be in Costa Rica? We have some friends who are house sitting on the Pacific Coast. Haven't been there yet ourselves, but plan to at some point. I'm sure you and Carol will have a wonderful time!

  3. Hi Wilma.
    We are starting at San Jose, then Tortuga Lodge at Tortuguera and finally at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge on the Osa Peninsula on the Pacific coast. Looking forward to some great wildlife in Central America!

    1. Sounds wonderful! I am sure you will see a grand variety.

  4. Shades of the Jungle Book Wilma looking down on you from the Tree.
    "Trust in me." "Trust in me.".

  5. Wonderful series of photos here. Beautiful snake. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Linda. Stay warm!

  6. It may look sleek and thin but I can't get over how long it looks. It's great to hear from you guys and it looks like the house is coming together nicely. Thanks for the photos!

    1. It seemed to stretch on and on ...
      The house is coming along. I'll have more photos soon.
      Thanks for commenting.


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