America’s Rarest Snake Chokes to Death on Giant Centipede

By | 08/09/2022

For the showtime time in four years, researchers said, the rarest snake in North America was spotted earlier this year in Florida, but it appears its eyes may have been too large for its stomach.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the rim rock crowned snake is a tiny reptile, growing to less than a foot in length, that is only found in a very small part of southeast Florida and the Florida Keys. The head, too known as the crown, is black to lite brownish, while the belly ranges from yellow to ruby-red with blackness spots.

Researchers at the Florida Museum of Natural History said in a study published Sabbatum in the journal Ecology, a hiker found the snake on the side of a trail at a park in Fundamental Largo, Florida, in February. What was even more astonishing to researchers was that the snake appeared to accept high-strung on its terminal meal – a giant centipede about a third of the snake’s length. Researchers said they believe the size of the centipede cut off the snake’south air supply at its widest part.

“I was amazed when I offset saw the photos,” Coleman Sheehy, the Florida Museum’s herpetology collection director and writer of the report in a press release. “It’south extremely rare to detect specimens that died while eating casualty, and given how rare this species is, I would never have predicted finding something like this. Nosotros were all totally flabbergasted.”

Scientists opted for CT scans instead of autopsy to keep the snake every bit intact as possible for further study on the elusive species.

“We were able to perform a digital autopsy, which immune united states of america to examine the centipede and ophidian, including its injuries and gut contents, without ever picking up a scalpel,” Jaimi Greyness, another of the researchers,


The rim stone crowned ophidian, or Tantilla oolitica,is one of several species of plants and animals that only exists from fundamental Florida to the Keys forth an ancient coral reef, according to the FWC.

“Nosotros can’t say for certain whether or not they’re nonetheless nowadays in peninsular Florida,” Sheehy said. “Absence of show is not evidence of absence, but their habitat has basically been destroyed.”

As cities expanded, the snakes’ numbers dropped. Co-ordinate to FWC, hurricanes and thunderstorms besides flood their habitat, which is mostly underground in limestone. They can sometimes be establish in a higher place ground in rotten logs or hiding under rocks or trash.


The Florida Museum has merely cataloged 26 rim rock crowned snakes.

In the wild, life expectancy is near five years. After two years, the snake lays about 6 eggs per year, according to the FWC.

Snakes have specially designed jaws held to their skulls with ligaments and muscles, allowing them to open their mouths equally wide as their prey. Human jaws are directly attached to our skulls.

Snakes have a unique anatomy that allows them to open their jaws to fit large prey. This snake is a jararacussu and part of an anatomy lecture.

Snakes have a unique anatomy that allows them to open their jaws to fit large casualty. This snake is a jararacussu and role of an anatomy lecture.

Sheehy said that snakes literally wrap their caput effectually their nutrient which gives them the ability to consume things that are much larger than they are.

In this example, researchers said, the scans showed that the centipede fought dorsum. Its venomous pincers attacked the inside of the serpent, causing internal haemorrhage. Sheehy said that the wound was non fatal. The pinched trachea was.


Before this CT scan, no ane knew exactly what the serpent ate. Obviously, they do eat centipedes. This is the first fourth dimension scientists were able to encounter the serpent’s eating habits.

The Florida Museum squad said they are so excited about the rare observe that they are offering upward gratis, downloadable CT scans to other scientists to further everyone’due south inquiry.