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Are There Snakes In Jamaica?

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Are There Snakes In Jamaica | Jamaican BoaAre There Snakes In Jamaica | Jamaican Boa

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Many travellers visit Jamaica to explore the island and go on wild adventures. One major concern for visitors is how safe the island is and if there are any dangerous animals that they might run into. One common question asked is, ”are there snakes in Jamaica?”


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Are snakes common in Jamaica?

Jamaica is home to several different snake species, although none of them are poisonous. The snakes that do dwell in Jamaica tend to be solitary and only out at night, making it extremely unlikely for humans to ever come into contact with them.

The growth of human habitation, which has drastically destroyed their natural habitat, has had a significant negative influence on Jamaica's snake population over the last few decades. The number of snakes in Jamaica has also decreased as a result of the introduction of several predatory species. The mongoose was brought to Jamaica in 1872 in an effort to reduce the rat population, and it has had an especially terrible impact on the island's snake population.

Did Jamaica ever have poisonous snakes?

No. Studies and research have never mentioned there ever being poisonous snakes in Jamaica.

Are there snakes in Montego Bay?

There have been no in-depth studies surrounding snakes in Montego Bay or the types. However, in July 2015, a huge yellow boa snake was found in marron town St. James. This would make one naturally draw to the assumption that yes there are snakes in Montego Bay and other parts of St. James.

What is the biggest snake in Jamaica?

The Jamaican Boa is the largest snake there. The Jamaican Boa is the largest terrestrial predator, with extreme specimens reaching lengths of over eight feet. The usual adult measures about six feet.

Types of snakes found in Jamaica

1. Jamaican Boa

Actually quite safe, the Jamaican boa. Also known as the yellow snake, the Jamaican Boa can reach astonishing lengths of up to six feet. The Jamaican Boa, which gets its name from being native to Jamaica, has a striking yellow and black zigzag pattern running down its body.

The biggest terrestrial predator on the island, the Yellow Snake, is non-venomous and mostly preys on lizards, rodents, birds, and bats. It catches prey by remaining still and disguised by its surroundings before pouncing on an unaware target and biting them with its needle-like teeth before strangling the victim to death.

Since the Jamaican Boa is nocturnal and prefers to live in trees, it is quite unlikely that anyone will ever come across one in the wild.

2. Jamaican Dwarf Boa

The island of Jamaica is home to several species of dwarf boa, including the Jamaican dwarf boa, the Portland dwarf boa, and the Haitian dwarf boa. Species of dwarf boa, often known as wood snakes or thunder snakes, are widespread throughout South and Central America.

The Jamaican dwarf boa is absolutely non-lethal to humans and has no venom. The Jamaican dwarf boa is solitary and prefers to live in swamps and woodlands. It only reaches a maximum size of 60 cm and feeds mostly on frogs and lizards.

The frightening type of protection used by the Jamaican dwarf boa when confronted is to immediately bleed from the mouth and nostrils and coil up into a ball.

3. Grass snake

The grass snake often reaches a length of about 70 centimetres and has a dark green body with a flash of colour at the back of the head. They usually reside adjacent to ponds, rivers and lakes which works because they are adept swimmers.

There is no need to worry, grass snakes are also entirely harmless to people. Small amphibians like frogs and toads make up the majority of the grass snake's diet. The grass snake has a variety of tactics up its sleeve if it feels threatened.

The grass snake will release a foul stench that is claimed to smell a lot like garlic to scare off potential assailants. The grass snake can release blood from its mouth and nose, just like the Jamaican dwarf boa can. They can also fake death, a process called thanatosis.

4. Jamaican Groundsnake

The Jamaican Racer is another name for the Jamaican Groundsnake. There were at one point three Groundsnake species on the island, The Red Groundsnake, The Black Groundsnake and the Long-tailed Groundsnake.

Sadly, it is believed that the Black Groundsnake may now be extinct much like the peril that all of Jamaica's snakes face. The Groundsnake population is known to be rapidly declining, just like all of Jamaica's snake species.

Residential construction and the growth of the tourism sector both pose threats to their natural habitat, which is primarily on Jamaica's east coast. Additionally, imported mammals like the mongoose and feral cats that live in Jamaica frequently hunt them.

5. Jamaican Blind Snake

As the tiniest snake on the island, the least dangerous creature you could encounter is the Jamaican Blind Snake. This tiny snake resembles a long worm more than anything else. The Jamaican Blind Snake has a variety of habitats around the island, which are primarily underground and occasionally under rocks or logs.

Even though they are difficult to find, if you start looking at them, you might find them. The Jamaican Blind Snake, as its name suggests, has essentially no vision. They are said to only be able to distinguish between light and dark with their two specks of eyes.

6. Jamaican Eyespot Boa

Another member of the Tropidophis family, which includes the aforementioned Jamaican Dwarf Boa, is the Jamaican Eyespot Boa. The colour of the Jamaican Eyespot Boa can vary throughout the course of a day, although it is often either brilliant orange or dark brown.

7. Portland Ridge Dwarf Boa

Another snake endemic to Jamaica is the Portland Ridge Dwarf Boa, which derives its name from the Portland Ridge area in the southern part of the island. The Portland Ridge Dwarf Boa is believed to be unique to this area of the entire island.

The Portland Ridge Dwarf Boa lives mostly in dry regions, hiding up behind rocks or in caves despite being so close to the ocean. Except for the fact that it has decided to remain in this specific area of Jamaica, very little is known about the habits of this elusive snake.

Sadly most (maybe all) species of snakes in Jamaica are endangered, not just by animals such as the mongoose, but by humans as well.

Because of the lack of knowledge when these snakes are discovered they are often times killed because of fear that the snake may harm them.

There are no specific sites or locations dedicated to just snakes here in Jamaica. However, the Hope Zoo in Kingston does have a display of several species.

So to answer your question, Are there snakes in Jamaica? Yes, but they are harmless, don’t let that deter you from the vacation of a lifetime.

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Return to Jamaican Animals from Are There Snakes In Jamaica?
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References & Sources For Are There Snakes In Jamaica?

  1. Snakes in Jamaica: The 7 Known Species You May Encounter, https://www.jtgtravel.com/north-america/jamaica/snakes-in-jamaica/  
  2. Massive snake found near Montego Bay | I AM A JAMAICAN, https://iamajamaican.net/news/2015/07/massive-snake-found-in-montego-bay/
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