Friday, October 21, 2016

Ratonel, Pseudoboa neuwiedii (Family Dipsadidae)

Other common names: roulea, mapepire velour, ratonera, moon snake, brown snake.

Size: 870 mm SVL, 215 mm tail; 1085 mm TL. Rostral slightly upturned, visible from above; loreal single; one or two preoculars; two postoculars; eight upper labials; 6–8 lower labials; 195–201 ventrals; single cloacal plate; and 74–97 single subcaudals; dorsal scales smooth in 17 or 19 rows at midbody. Adult snakes are red-brown or pink-brown with a darker brown-black head; Young red or pink above with a dark head and a cream collar that fades with age. Each dorsal scale with a dark spot enlarging with age; venter uniform cream. Adults are a uniform salmon color with a dark head. Juveniles have been confused with its close relative Clelia clelia; both species have hatchlings and juveniles that are pink-red to bright red with a black head, light colored band, followed by a black band.  However, the uniquely shaped upturned rostral and single subcaudals, will separate Pseudoboa from Clelia. Oxyrhopus petolarius, may be banded or a uniform black, but it lacks the up-turned rostral and has divided subcaudals. A widespread species, from Panama and Colombia eastward to Suriname, and south to Brazil; widely distributed on both Trinidad and Tobago.  Forest, savanna; common in most habitats, including: agricultural areas, gardens, yards, and plantations. Crepuscular, nocturnal. Diet includes: any appropriately sized vertebrate killed with a combination of constriction and venom; Ameiva atrigularis seems to be a frequently taken prey species; and they have been suggested to be nest predators. May actively forage on the ground or hunt from ambush in low vegetation.  Clutches of 3–9 eggs laid in leaf cutting ant nests in July, September, January, and February. Venom: Anecdotal evidence suggests this snake’s venom may be quite toxic to both mammals and reptiles; it usually does not attempt to bite when picked-up but it should be handled with care.

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