from the June 6, 2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda
Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO
COMMON TROPICAL RATSNAKE
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:
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.