Belize is fascinating!!
Snakes have been around for more than 100 million years. Approximately 2500 species are known in the world and most of the richness of snake species is found through the earth’s tropics.
While our region may be species-rich, Belize is not viewed as a place where there are great numbers of individual snakes. The snakes of Belize play an important role in our local ecology. They control rodent populations. Snakes also keep populations of birds, lizards, and frogs in check, providing an ecological balance. Birds of prey rely on snakes for their food.
The extent of the ecological benefits obtained from snakes is not totally known. For a healthy environmental future, snakes should be acknowledged as an important part of our country’s natural history.
Determining the different species of snakes in Belize, and understanding their importance, is a vital part of a conservation philosophy. This embraces the fact that the flora and fauna of Belize interact and create a sophisticated balance, which is an imperative part of our dynamic natural heritage.
Fifty- nine species of snakes are known to occur in Belize. These range in size from tiny, burrowing species with degenerate eyes, that attain a length of no more than seven or eight inches, to the relatively enormous boa constrictor, which grows to at least twelve (12) feet. Which I have personally seen. Some harmless species of Belizean snakes even feed on venomous snakes.
Although the composition of the snake fauna of Belize is similar to that of adjacent Mexico and Guatemala, the many islands off the Belizean coast support populations of snakes that are distinct, and which occur nowhere else in the world. Example, a class of the green-headed tree snake is unique to caye Bokel. In additional, populations of the boa constrictor on some of the Belizean cayes are stunted in size, produce small broods, and appear strikingly different from their mainland relatives.
As a lay-man, I find the flora and fauna of Belize fascinating. You are invited to explore and enjoyed.