Puerto Rican Racer
Puerto Rican Racer (Eng.), Culebra Corredora (Sp.), Alsophis portoricensis (Sci.), native, Puerto Rico.
Photo Puerto Rico's Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, Interpretive Media Writer, EYNF/LEF
Class-Reptilia, Order-Squamata, Family-Colubridae, Genus-Alsophis, Species-A. portoricensis. The Puerto Rican Racer is the second largest Puerto Rican snake, and its venomous bite is mildly poisonous.
Alsophis portoricensis is easily recognized by its size and coloration. It measures approximately 3 feet (0.9 meters) in snout to vent length. It is brown above with each scale being edged with a darker brown, or sometimes white on the rearmost portions. There are no markings on the head and the throat is either unmarked or marked with dark blotches. Below, scales are pale, with dark brown rear edges.
The Puerto Rican Racer is a diurnal (active during the daytime) and terrestrial (ground dwelling) snake, although it can often be found in trees, an active hunter, once its prey is captured it is immobilized with a toxic salivary secretion of the snake’s Duvernoy gland. It chews the prey several times to allow its enlarged back teeth to become effective. Its diet consists primarily of small lizards (anoles) and frogs (coquis). Females lay up to eleven elongated eggs between March and May.
Note: this snake is quite aggressive and will not hesitate to bite when cornered, rising up on the lower part of its body and expanding its neck skin into a “hood” in cobra fashion. When the teeth penetrate the skin and the saliva passes into the blood, it may cause swelling, soreness and discoloration of the bitten area.
Alsophis portoricensis occurs throughout the main island of Puerto Rico from coastal plain to forested middle elevations.
Where to look for this animal in the EYNF
This snake can occasionally be sighted in grassy areas in the Tabonuco forest area beside the El Portal and Big Tree Nature trails.
USDA Forest Service
El Yunque National Forest
HC-01 Box 13490
Rio Grande, PR 00745
787 888 1810
|Grass Coqui||Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat||Black-Whiskered Vireo|
|Barred Anole||Web-Footed Coqui||Velvety Free-Tailed Bat|
|Scaly-Naped Pigeon||Bananaquit||Pygmy Anole|
|Ruddy Quail-Dove||Antillean Coqui||Puerto Rican Racer|