Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Neotropical Pipe Snake, Anilius scytale (Linnaeus 1758)

The Neotropical Pipe Snake, Anilius scytale, is discussed here because it was been reported from Trinidad as early as 1858. This species is in its own family, the Aniliidae and is generally considered to represent an ancient lineage of snakes, and it is one of only a few clades of snakes to retain teeth on the premaxillary bone, a trait considered to be primitive. It is ovoviviparous. The diet consists of elongated amphibians and other reptiles. The pipe snakes' body is cylindrical and uniform in diameter, the tail is exceptionally short, all characteristics of a specialized burrowing snake; the color pattern is red and black bands (no yellow or white bands); eyes are degenerate and embedded in large ocular scales. This species is found in Amazonian South America, Guyana and probably Trinidad. Total length is about 70 cm. The photograph is a museum specimen from Guyana. This species is probably not part of the Trinidad fauna.

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