ANIMAL: Tiger Rat Snake Spilotes pullatus Type of Animal: Colubrid Habitat: Forests, forest edges, open woodlands, heavily wooded grasslands, brushy grasslands, thornscrub, farms, ranches, outskirts of developed areas Location(s): Found from S Mexico through central South America. Also found on Trinidad & Tobago. Appearance: Black w/ yellow spots/striping, fairly long slender snake, yellow tip on snout, yellow belly w/ some black crossbanding, juveniles have deeper golden/orange areas around midsection Food/Diet: Small mammals, birds, lizards, amphibians, other snakes (including each other), eggs, crocodilian hatchlings, turtle/tortoise hatchlings Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Snakelet Group: Solitary Weight: Male: 8-10 lbs Female: 7-8 lbs Gestation: 5 months Life Span: 12-15 years Body Length: Male: 7-10 ft Female: 6-8 ft Young: 1.5-2.5 ft Tail Length: 2 ft Main predators are predatory birds, larger snakes (including members of own species), tegus, crocodilians, & predatory mammals. Active during day (diurnal). These snakes are semi-arboreal, preferring the trees but spending plenty of time on the ground. These snakes are active hunters. Unlike other rat snakes, these snakes don’t kill prey by constriction. Instead, they bite and/or hold/press prey against solid surface/object. They use camouflage to catch prey & avoid predators. Females lay 8-18 eggs per clutch. During courtship, male(s) align body alongside or on top of female & violently shake tail over female. When female wants to mate, she bobs head. Males often fight by entwining between each other. Whoever keeps head higher is winner. These snakes continue to grow throughout their lives. Fun Fact(s): These snakes can sometimes be very defensive & are not for beginner snake hobbyists. They’re known to be rather curious snakes. To defend themselves, these snakes will inflate necks, nod heads, rattle tails, & flick tongues as well as bite. Get name due to patterns. Also called Yellow Rat Snake, Tropical Rat Snake, Chicken Snake, Tropical Chicken Snake, Serpiente Tigre, Caninana, Clibo, & Thunder-and-Lightning Snake. These snakes are very fast. Color patterns help them blend in w/ speckled sunlight through trees.
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