DixPix Photographs





When one thinks of the Amazon Rainforest, snakes are likely not far off in the mind.  Snakes are indeed there in goodly variety, and some are indeed lethal, but the sad fact is that you are lucky to actually meet one in any given day hiking in the Amazon.  Some hang out in the distant canopy, others are well camouflaged, and those on the forest floor are sensitive to vibrations of approaching people and move away.  Hence we must turn to captive examples for most of this presentation.  One source is Colombia's Serpentario National Armero near Leticia on the Amazon River.

Lizards seem less common here than in drier areas, or perhaps they are just less visible. Turtles and Caiman etc. join fish on a separate page under River-creatures.


By far the best known snake in the area is the semi-aquatic Anaconda.  Eunectes murina is known as the Green Anaconda or Anaconda Verde, although it is often not green.  It is native to much of the South American tropics, and is the world's heaviest (and second longest) snake, with records of about 200 kilos. Click to see big picture (496x600 pixels; 165 KB)
An impromptu show of a tame Anaconda at the Armero center in Leticia, Colombia.  Oddly, Eunectes murinus translates approximately as "water loving mouse eater".  Really large specimens can be dangerous to humans in a shallow-water ambush.  They are constrictors, and can bite but without venom. Click to see big picture (363x600 pixels; 105 KB)
An anaconda skin is displayed for legal? sale in the town of Benjamin Constant on the Brazil-Peru border.  Although widely hunted, they are not listed as endangered. Click to see big picture (693x600 pixels; 147 KB)
Eunectes notaeus is known as the Yellow Anaconda or Yellow Boa.  It haunts swamps from southern Brazil and eastern Bolivia to northern Argentina.  This one, however is snoozing at the Buenos Aires Zoo. Click to see big picture (615x600 pixels; 177 KB)
Several species are called 'boa constrictors', but this is the official  Boa constrictor constrictor.   Native to northern South America it is sometimes called the Colombian Red-tail Boa, but locally it is just Boa Constrictora.  At the zoo in Buenos Aires again. Click to see big picture (800x558 pixels; 193 KB)
The Short-tailed Boa (Boa constrictor amarali) hisses, and can back it up with a nasty bite, but no venom.  It ranges from southern Brazil to northern Argentina.  NOTE, this classification has been challenged, and it may be a Red-tailed Boa. Click to see big picture (720x483 pixels; 173 KB)
Another look at Boa constrictor amarali, known locally as the Boa de Amaral.  This one is captive at Leticia, Colombia, outside of its natural range.  Again, perhaps a Red-tailed Boa rather than the short-tailed species. Click to see big picture (718x600 pixels; 248 KB)
The Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus) hunts high in the rainforests from Panama to Uruguay.  This one, however, is confined behind glass at the Vancouver Aquarium. Click to see big picture (627x600 pixels; 126 KB)
Emerald Tree Boas (Corallus caninus) are citizens of the Amazon, mainly in the western parts of the basin.  Being colorful and non-venomous,  the  Boa Esmeralda is popular in the pet trade, but is not listed (yet) as endangered.  Denver Zoo. Click to see big picture (720x579 pixels; 112 KB)
Epicrates cenchria alvarezi is native to southeastern Bolivia, adjacent Brazil and south to northern Argentina.  It is known as the Rainbow Boa or Boa Arcoiris, and is usually found in areas more open then the rainforest.  This one is in the Serpentario at Mendoza, Argentina. Click to see big picture (800x543 pixels; 227 KB)
Pseudoboa coronata is known as the Crowned False Boa and is not in the Boa Family, Boidae.  It calls the northwest Amazon basin home, along with the northern rim of South America.  This one is captive at Leticia. Click to see big picture (640x581 pixels; 115 KB)
Two recently killed Western Ribbon (or South American) Coral Snakes near Guapurutu in eastern Bolivia.  Micrurus lemniscatus is found in many parts of the South American tropics.  Venomous. Click to see big picture (548x600 pixels; 151 KB)

The Neotropical Rattlesnake or Cascabel Tropical is a venomous pit viper.  Crotalus durissus is found in discontinuous populations through much of tropical Americas. 

Click to see big picture (800x565 pixels; 210 KB)
A closer look at the business end of the Neotropical Rattlesnake.  Serpentario Armero. Click to see big picture (351x600 pixels; 92 KB)
And here are the fangs of a (dead) Bushmaster.   Lachesis muta muta is the largest viper world-wide and the largest venomous snake in the western hemisphere.  It is also known as the Mute Rattler, or locally as Cascabel muda and Surucuru.  Serpentario Armero, Leticia.  Fearsome and deadly. Click to see big picture (415x600 pixels; 97 KB)
It goes by names such as Fer-de-lance, Barba Amarilla and LanceheadBothrops atrox is not large, but it is one of the most feared snakes in tropical America, as it is often not noticed until too late. Click to see big picture (720x588 pixels; 203 KB)
Bothrops jararaca is another venomous pit viper which goes by the name of Jararaca.  It is mainly found in southeast Brazil, and is out of its natural range here in Leticia, Colombia. Click to see big picture (720x471 pixels; 161 KB)
We turn to the Serpentario in Mendoza, Argentina for the Ñacanina or False Water CobraHydrodynastes gigas is a venomous, rear-fanged, species found in northern Argentina and southern Brazil. Click to see big picture (720x567 pixels; 210 KB)
The Tropical Rat Snake is not venomous, but is widespread in the Neotropics and at home in both the trees and in a water habitat. Spilotes pullatus in polite company. Click to see big picture (533x600 pixels; 122 KB)
The Parrot Snake opens its mouth to intimidated intruders, and indeed it can bite, but no venom.  Leptophis ahaetulla is widespread, with several subspecies, this one from the Colombian Amazon. Click to see big picture (640x476 pixels; 79 KB)
Chironius carinatos  goes by the odd name of Machete Savane, or more simply as Sipo.  It hunts the forests near water at various areas in Tropical America for Frogs, Mice and Lizards. Click to see big picture (599x600 pixels; 182 KB)
A Machete Savane rears to face intruders, near the triple point where Colombia, Brazil and Peru meet.  Aggressive if threatened, but not venomous. Click to see big picture (720x592 pixels; 196 KB)
Chironius exoletus, known as the Green Sipo, or as Linaeus's Sipo.  This species is quite widespread in the Neotropics, here grabbed near the Heliconias Reserve on the Brazil-Peru border. Click to see big picture (530x600 pixels; 130 KB)
Another look at a Chironius exoletus in the same area, demonstrating that this genus has snakes of impressive length. Click to see big picture (800x401 pixels; 181 KB)
The Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) is a very successful species, widespread in the Neotropics, including the Amazon basin.  This male is hanging over a river in southern Nicaragua, and the iguanas are discussed in more detail in their section on Mesoamerica. Click to see big picture (720x578 pixels; 216 KB)
Tupinambis rufescens, a lizard known as the Red Tegu or simply as Largato Colorado.  It is native from eastern Bolivia and adjacent Brazil down into northern Argentina.  This one, however, is at the zoo in Buenos Aires. Click to see big picture (640x452 pixels; 91 KB)
Tupinambis teguixin is native to most of the South American tropics and to Panama.  It is known as the Black Tegu, and some yellow-colored forms as the Golden Tegu.  Locally, this genus tends to be called Largatos Overos.  Captive in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Click to see big picture (640x521 pixels; 121 KB)
Tupinambis merianae is the largest of its genus.  It may be found from southern Brazil into northern Argentina, although this one resides at the zoo in Buenos Aires.  Beside the usual name of Largato Overo this species is known as Salvator Merianae. Click to see big picture (800x419 pixels; 178 KB)
A female Amazon Racer suns herself on a sidewalk in Leticia Colombia.  Ameiva ameiva is found through much of tropical South America. Click to see big picture (800x519 pixels; 148 KB)
Another Amazon Racer, likely a male.  It is also known as the Giant Ameiva. Click to see big picture (800x588 pixels; 184 KB)
At Sacha Lodge reserve in the Eucadorian Amazon, this anole is not concerned about whether it is Norops nitens or should still be included in the Anolis genus.