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What Is a Parrot Snake?

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  • Written By: R. Stamm
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2014
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Leptophis ahaetulla is a slender, emerald green, non-venomous snake with a large, triangular head. Also known as a parrot snake, it is an extremely agile breed with aggressive hunting skills that feeds on small animals or insects in its habitat. There are six different varieties of Leptophis ahaetulla, and all reproduce by laying eggs. While they are usually found living in the rain forests of South America, they can also survive in dry areas.

From the Colubridae family, this breed is an exceptionally slender snake that can grow to over 6 feet (about 2m) in length. It is generally characterized as having a bright, grass-green body on the top with the belly ranging from a light green to white. The chin of the snake is often light blue in color, and many have big yellow and black eyes set into a large triangular head. Some Costa Rican parrot snakes have a stripe which runs down the length of the body.

The parrot snake is diurnal, meaning that is it mostly active during the daytime and sleeps in vegetation at night. In the forests where it lives, the snake's diet helps keep the amphibian populations in balance. The snake is an aggressive hunter who continually moves through tree branches in search of food such as amphibians, reptiles, small birds, and even some insects. When threatened, it will raise the anterior part of its body, recoil, open its mouth, and perform a dummy strike on the intended target.

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The parrot snake can be found living in a wide range of habitats. It is usually found camouflaged in the trees or the brush of low- and middle-elevation tropical rain forests in southern Mexico, Central America, and Argentina. In addition to tropical rain forests, it can be found living in the hot, dry shrub lands and thorny forests of Brazil.

It is important to note that some snakes called "parrot" in certain areas are poisonous. A snake known as the Guyanese parrot snake looks similar to the nonpoisonous green parrot. The Guyanese parrot is a viper that is darker in color and has stripes on the body, a peppering of black spots, and a creamy yellow stripe running the length of the body. The Guyanese parrot snake is found living in South American countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana. It can also be found in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

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