TBZ Snakes on Patrol

There is a strict "no smoking" policy at the Belize Zoo to protect the health of animals and visitors alike, and the Green-headed Tree Snake pictured at left is searching for visitors who may have missed the signs. The word is that she reports all violations to her big cousins who are on exhibit near the zoo entrance. One of the cousins, "Rocky Balboa," TBZ's people-friendly boa constrictor, often greets adventurous visitors with a BIG hug. Boa's are Belize's largest species of snake, reaching up to twelve feet in length. They are found throughout Belize in areas where rodents are abundant, and "Rocky Balboa" keeps busy making friends with zoo visitors to educate them about how important it is to preserve Boa Constrictors in the wild.

Belize is home to fifty-nine species of snakes, nine of which are venomous. The Belize Zoo is home to two species of venomous snakes, the Tropical Rattlesnake and the Fer-de-lance. The Tropical Rattlesnake (or Cascabel as they are known in Belize) is mainly nocturnal and feeds on rodents or birds. They are found throughout Belize. While they are not considered an aggressive snake, they will rattle and coil to strike if they feel threatened.

The Fer-de-lance, known in Belize as the Yellow-jaw Tommygoff, is the most common venomous snake in Central America. The Fer-de-lance is a nocturnal predator feeding on frogs, birds, and small mammals. In Belize they are found mainly in the Northern and Southern Forests and the Mountain Pine Ridge area. The Fer-de-lance on exhibit at the Belize Zoo is pictured below. Their venom is a deadly hemotoxin, so make sure to heed the "no smoking" signs when you visit the zoo!

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