Micrurus surinamensis — Aquatic Coral Snake
Also known as:
Surinam Coral Snake
Subspecies I've seen:
M. s. surinamensis
Aquatic Coral Snake
Micrurus surinamensis surinamensis — Aquatic Coral Snake
This species was one of the two most commonly-seen snakes by our group throughout our Peruvian adventure, the other being Imantodes cenchoa. On most nights, at least one of these snakes (and usually more) was found in one of the shallow streams that cross the various trails at both the Madre Selva and Santa Cruz field stations. The first photo here shows the snake as found; the second photo shows it all flattened and tightened up after it was disturbed.
Gina Harper, queen of coral snake spotting, saw this one in the middle of the trail after Sean Harper and I had both walked right past it. Note the dramatic difference between the initial, unworried appearance and the flattened, post-disturbance appearance.
Matt Cage spotted this snake in a stream we were crossing at night. I wanted an in situ photo, so I snuck up to the snake's position. It noticed us (or, probably, just me) and puffed up. I got just this one photo before it submerged and disappeared into the muck. Matt poked around with his tongs and we did get one more glimpse of the snake before it disappeared again, this time for good.
This was probably the largest Micrurus surinamensis I've yet seen. It was definitely the ugliest.
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Campbell, J. A., Lamar, W. W. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere
- Dixon, J. R. and Soini, P. 1986. The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru
- Duellman, W.E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest