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.
As I sit and read I came across this evergreen poem to share with you.
The Better Land
“I hear thee speak of the Better Land,
Thou call’st it’s a happy land;
Mother, oh! Where is that radiant shore?
Shall we not seek it, and weep no more?
Is it where the flower of the orange blows,
And the fire-flies glance through the myrtle boughs?”
“Not there, not there, my child!”
“Is it where the feathery palm-trees rise,
And the date grows ripe under sunny skies?
Or ’midst the green islands on glittering seas
Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,
And strange bright birds, on their starry wings,
Bear the rich hues of all glorious things?”
Not there, not there, my children!”
“Is it far away in some region old,
Where the rivers wander o’er sands of gold;
Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,
And the diamond lights up the secret mine,
And the pearl gleams forth from the coral strand;
Is it there, sweet mother, that Better Land?”
“Not there, not there, my children! —
“Eye hath not seen it, my gentle boy;
Ear hath not heard its deep songs of joy;
Dreams cannot picture a world so far;
Sorrow and death may not enter there;
Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom;
For beyond the clouds and beyond the tomb —
It is there, it is there, my children.