What snake is this?

Asked July 8, 2020, 11:56 AM EDT

I live in Mexico, and while in a forest I came across this snake. I don't know much about snakes, but could anybody tell me what type of snake this is?

Outside United States

1 Response

Thank you for your question. The snake in your photo looks like a false coral snake in the genus Pliocercus, possibly Pliocercus elapoides. There are five subspecies of P. elapoides and three other species of Pliocercus. These snakes are rear-fanged and venomous.

They are small snakes, generally ranging from approximately 11.75 - 19.75 inches (300 - 500 mm). Maximum recorded length is approximately 30.75 inches (780 mm).

The various species and subspecies range from southern Mexico to Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. In Mexico, they are found from the states of Tamaulipas south through Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Yucatan.

They are found in dry or wet forests, coffee plantations and other cultivated agricultural areas. They are active both day and night. They feed on frogs, salamanders and amphibian eggs.

Bites from this species are reportedly non-lethal, however symptoms can include localized pain and swelling. Severe pain and tissue discoloration have been reported in some cases.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim