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What Kinds of Snakes Live in the Rain Forest?

By J.Gunsch
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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There are thousands of snake species in the world and, due to the perfect combination of humidity, shelter, and abundance of food, many of them are found in the rain forests of various continents. Of these thousands of snakes, there are four general categories: the flying snakes, constrictor snakes, venomous and non-venomous snakes.

Some of the most famous rain forest snakes are the anacondas. The anacondas are mysterious snakes, and not much is known about their lifestyle. What scientists do know is that they can grow to be 30 feet (9 m) long, making the anaconda one of the largest snakes in the world. They are great swimmers, spending a lot of time in rivers and swamps and also in trees. Anacondas can survive for up to two years without feeding, and when they do eat, their prey can be as large as a human but typically consists of deer, large rodents and birds. These snakes are not poisonous, but they are very skilled and efficient hunters. An anaconda bites its prey to weaken it and then constricts its large body around the victim, suffocating and crushing it.

Other popular rain forest snakes are those in the family of pythons, which include a number of different species. These snakes range in size from about 3 feet (0.91 m) to 33 feet (10 m)long. The reticulated python is the largest of the pythons and weighs around 300 pounds (136 kg). Like the anacondas, they are non-venomous and kill their prey by constriction.

Other snakes found in the rain forest include those that are seemingly able to fly through the forest canopy. Flying or gliding snakes include the paradise tree snake and golden tree snake. Although they do not have wings, flying snakes are able to flatten their body and propel themselves from tree to tree.

Venomous rain forest snakes are so numerous it is impossible to list them all, but they are classified into three categories: front fanged, rear fanged and folding fanged snakes. Most venomous snakes use their poison to kill and feed on their prey, but they will use it as a defense when they are threatened.

Front-fanged snakes can possess some of the most deadly venom in the world. These snakes include African mambas, coral snakes and cobras.

It is extremely difficult to be bitten by the rear fanged snakes because of the placement of the fangs. Someone would have to basically put his finger far into the animal's mouth in order to be injected with its venom. Some of these snakes include the mangrove catsnake and a variety of water snakes.

Folding fang snakes include the bush master, pit vipers and vipers. These snakes are able to fold their fangs, which are located on their upper jaw, so that they lie flush with the jaws inside the mouth. Then when they are about to strike their prey or defend themselves, the fangs are released to inject their venom.

Although there are many docile and harmless snakes, there is no difference in danger between venomous and constrictor snakes. Each have the potential to be deadly when threatened and that danger level depends on the species. Some non-venomous snakes can be far more dangerous than a poisonous one. Therefore, all snakes should be respected, whether they are venomous or constrictors. Unless a person is a species expert, it is probably best to admire them from a distance.

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Discussion Comments
By FrameMaker — On Oct 17, 2010

@ GlassAxe- The Fer De Lance is one of the deadliest snakes because of their temperament and likeliness to bite a human if cornered. They are masters of camouflage, and they are very aggressive. They also routinely strike farther than half of their body length, and they are speedy. This makes them a very formidable snake.

You could also say that the saw scaled viper is the most deadly of all snakes to humans. While the Russel's viper has venom with higher total toxicity, the saw scale is the most toxic venom to humans, about 15 times more toxic than the Russell's and 5 times more toxic than a cobra. This snake also lives near humans, and it kills just as many people as the Russell's if not even more.

By Alchemy — On Oct 17, 2010

@ GlassAxe- Picking one snake as the most deadly is a tough task. There are many factors that can be taken into account, and many different criteria that people can base the term "deadly" on. If you are talking about the pure potency of their venom, then snakes that specialize in hunting mammals will have the biggest physiological impact on humans. Drop for drop, the Russel's viper that is native to Southeast Asia and India has the most potent venom, tends to empty its venom glands on every bite, and is the deadliest snake to humans because it shares a habitat with people.

The snake that is most likely to kill in one bite without antivenom is the Gaboon viper, King Cobra, the Inland Taipan, or Eastern Diamond back Rattlesnake These snakes may not have the most potent venom, but they specialize in hunting mammals, and they have some of the highest venom yields of all poisonous snakes. They can inject more venom than necessary to kill a human without even coming close to emptying their venom glands, making even a mild bite very deadly.

By GlassAxe — On Oct 17, 2010

What is the most deadly of all rainforest snakes? I have never been to a rainforest, but I always see shows on the animal planet about some of the exotic species that live there. How dangerous is this snake relative to the western diamond back rattlesnake? I'm just curious, but if anyone has any knowledge or an opinion on this I would like to hear it.

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