Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the June 6, 2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

Last Sunday a little after dawn, before the sun was above the trees, I was admiring the dozens of potted garden plants sitting on the ground before the hut, waiting to be transplanted in the organic garden. Then a strikingly patterned snake silently slithered from between two pots and looked around, as shown below:

Common Tropical Ratsnake, SENTICOLLIS TRIASPIS

NOTE: Originally I thought the above was a Red-blotched Ratsnake but Chris Harrison of western Texas -- who seems to know his ratsnakes -- advised me that the above snake is actually Senticollis triaspis triaspis, sometimes known as the Green Ratsnake, but down here better called the Common Tropical Ratsnake. The Senticollis triaspis in my field guide is dark gray, looking nothing like what's in the photo, but other photos of Senticollis triaspis triaspis on the Internet do indeed match it.
This was a young snake, only about two feet long, but he sure was a snappy one. When my camera lens got too close he'd strike with his mouth flashing open for an instant, though he never did make contact. Of course ratsnakes aren't venomous and do a great service by eating rodents. This snake eventually disappeared among the stones forming the foundation of my hut, and I'm glad to know he's there, keeping mice out of my stored food.