False Coral Snake Found in Galapagos Islands




A resident of the Galapagos Islands ran over and killed a false coral snake, a species native to South America. According to a press release put out by Ecuador's Ministry of Environment, the driver ran over the non-native species February 23 on a road near the town of Santa Rosa, collected it and turned it over to staff at the Galapagos National Park. A park herpetologist determined through photographic records that the snake was a false coral snake, a non-venomous species that mimics the venomous coral snake.
 
false coral snake

Photo credit: Galapagos National Park

This marks the first instance a non-native snake was found in the Galapagos Islands.

 
The Ministry of Environment established an action plan to monitor a one mile radius of the area to look for additional specimens. "The snake was found in the rural area (upper part) of the island, so that monitoring includes forming a circle of a mile around the area in which it is found to determine the possible presence of more specimens in the field and prevent movement into protected areas, if any, "said Danny Rueda, Director of the Galapagos National Park Ecosystem.
A necropsy was conducted on the snake, which determined the snake to be a male. Its stomach was empty. There are four native snakes in the Galapagos Islands. They are Pseudalsophis biserialis, P. dorsalis, P.slevini, and P. steindachneri, all from the family Colubridae.
 
The presence of the false coral snake marks the first instance an introduced snake has become known in the islands.
 

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