Costa Rica
Nicoya Peninsula

Peninsula de Nicoya Travel and Vacation Guide
Peninsula de Nicoya Travel and Vacation Guide

Snakes in Costa Rica

Part II - Non-venomous colored snakes

Green-headed Racer
Green-headed Racer

Green-headed Racer / Corredora verde

Leptodrymus pulcherrimus
Length: up to 1.5 meter

A diurnal, terrestrial snake with green head and black stripes from the eyes to the tail. The slim body has a light green to yellow color. The harmless and relatively common snake inhabits lowland dry forest and premontane moist forests. It's also found in disturbed habitats.

Brown Vine Snake
Brown Vine Snake

Brown Vine Snake / Bejuquilla cafe

Oxybelis aeneus
Length: up to 1.7 meter

An extremely slender snake with pointed, elongated head. In defense (when teased by my cat) it opens the mouth wide to display dark purple lining. The back of its dorsum is brown, while the underside is white. The snake is mostly arboreal and diurnal, feeding on lizards frogs and small birds.

Costa Rica Snakes
Road Guarder

Road Guarder / Guardacaminos

Conophis lineatus
Length: up to 1.1 meter

A terrestrial, diurnal snake with alternating brown and yellow stripes running the length of the dorsum. In Costa Rica this snake occurs on the Pacific slope of the Nicoya Peninsula, in moist and dry forest, and savannas. It feeds primarily on lizards and eggs of ground-nesting birds.

Bird Snake

Neotropical Bird Snake / Mica

Mica pajarera
Length: up to 2.4 meters

This is one of the largest and most robust snakes in Costa Rica, capable of feeding on moderately sized birds, including small chickens. The body is mostly black with yellow dashes, patterns vary considerably. The snake can act aggressively but a bite will only hurt, not kill a human. Just leave the snake alone.


Dry Forest Whipsnake / Culebra chilillo

Masticophis mentovarius
Length: up to 2 meters

A larger fast-moving terrestrial snake, very shy, harmless and not aggressive. The body has no pattern, uniformly colored with variations from light green to brown. Characteristic are spots on the side of the head.


Black-tailed Cribo / Sabanera

Drymarchon melanurus
Length: up to 3 meters

A large, aggressive, but not poisonous snake with a yellow to brownish body. Distinctive black marks behind and below the eyes look like teardrops. The sabanera can be found in a variety of habitats, including open fields and tropical rain forests, in areas from sea level up to 1,900 m altitude.

All of the above snakes are non-venomous and I took pictures of them in the wild on the Nicoya Peninsula.

There are also snakes which are harmless to humans, instead help to combat venonomous snakes. The Zopilota (Clelia Clelia or Mussurana in English) is a large black snake whose favorite dish is Terciopelos .


More: Part I - Snakes with brown patterns
          Part III - Coral snakes