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Venomous Snakes of The Riviera Maya: Part 1

Most snakes you may encounter here are harmless, but in this two part series, we will show you five kinds you have to be careful with.

We talked with Raúl Padilla Borja a local wildlife expert, this is what we learned.

  • Coralillo Coral Snake (Micrurus diastema)

It is most recognized by it’s bright colors of red, yellow and black. Even though this snake can grow to up to a meter of more, the coral snake is not aggressive. It has a powerful neurotoxic venom which attacks the nervous system of its victims. Although this venom is very dangerous, it is very difficult for this snake to bite, as its mouth does not open very far. The anti-venom is called Coralmyn. Raul recommends calling ahead to hospitals to ensure they have it on hand, as many do not. You may need to go to Yucatan. You can verify you are looking at a coral snake by this simple word pattern, RANA (Rojo, Amarillo, Negro, Amarillo). If the colors are in a different order, it is not a coral. This species of snake lays eggs.

  • Nauyaca Real / Photo: Flickr/Brian Gratwicke
    Nauyaca Real / Photo: Flickr/Brian Gratwicke

    Nauyaca Real Lancehead (Bothrops asper)


Also known as cuatro narices, because it seems to have 4 nostrils that contain heat-sensing organs, enabling the snake to locate warm-blooded prey in the dark. This solitary, nocturnal snake is the most aggressive, if threatened. Raul points out its body looks like velvet and has a distinct pattern of triangles and dots on his body. Its head is broad and flat, with grey, brown to black coloring. They range from 1.2 to 1.8 meters in length. The female snake is larger than the male and she also has bigger fangs. They are considered the most prolific of all snakes. Their venom is hemotoxic, destroys red blood cells and disrupts blood clotting and other organs. It is very important to stay calm and not allow your blood pressure to rise. This bite requires Antivipmyn antivenom.

As we continue to take over their habit, you may encounter one of these snakes. If you have questions or want a snake removed, contact Raúl on Facebook/Raúl Padilla Borja. He also has educational wildlife presentations available.


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