AppearanceThis is a long, slender 2 colored (sometimes 3 colored) coral snake, adults usually 75 to 90 cm long (max. 120 cm). Snout is black and the black pigment includes most or all or the body. Body color pattern varies. Pale rings on body may also be red, pink, cream or white with a few black flecks. Usually 40 to 73 black body rings. Tail with 2 to 5 black dorsal crossbands, and underside red or pink. Some specimens may be bicolored black-and-white, others black-and-orange, some are 3 colored black-white-and-orange.
DistributionThis species occurs from Nicaragua to Panama, where it has an elevational range from sea level to 1,600 meters.
StatusListed as Least Concern because of the large range, relatively high abundance, numerous collection sites, and lack of major threats.
BehaviorMainly terrestrial (also burrows in loose soil or accumulated litter). Mainly diurnal, and most active during early morning and late afternoon. Although most species of coral snakes are not very aggressive, this species is reported to be nervous and will bite readily if disturbed. Oviparous and preys on locally available other snakes, lizards, frogs and invertebrates.
HabitatFound mainly in lowland moist and wet forests (rainforest), subtropical wet forest, and lower montane wet forest. In northwestern Costa Rica, this snake may be found in tropical dry forest. Found from near sea level to 1,500 m elevation.
DefenseNot well known, but probably has mainly potent neurotoxic venom which can be injected through a pair of grooved, fixed, upper front fangs. Due to the small size of their mouth, coral snakes' bites to humans usually occur on a finger or toe, and usually during attempts by the victim to catch or molest the snake.
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