Reptiles found in the Sartenajan
Region include terrestrial (lad) and mangrove dwelling snakes and lizards, marine and freshwater
tortoises and crocodiles.
Reptiles play an important role in
nature, tourism, agriculture, and maintaining marine ecosystems. Carnivorous reptiles eat insects,
rats and mice, other mammals, and other snakes and also lizards. Some snakes, including the deadly
coral snakes, feed only on other snakes.
Tourists that are interested in
wildlife are excited by seeing lizards and snakes. A harmless lizard of high tourism value is the
black iguana (Scientific name), which is common around Sarteneja and can
be seen in the village.
The sustainable management
of reptiles in developed areas first requires a knowledge of species and their habitat
needs. In natural habitats lizards and tortoises generally live in moderate densities in
optimal habitat. Some snakes are common, but many are found at low to very low densities, and
some snakes that live underground are only found by turning rocks or rotting wood, or during
Many species of terrestrial reptiles thrive in
developed areas if patches of unfarmed habitat such as forest or swamp are left.
Because some predators are absent in unfarmed
patches, and food availability can be high, populations of some reptiles species can sometimes
exceed those found in large patches of uncleared forest.
CAUTION: There are a number of venomous snakes in the Sartenejan Region including coral snakes of
various Micrurus species, the barba amarila (Bothrops asper) or
fer-de-lance, and cascabel (Crotalus durissus) or Neotropical
No doubt the Maya
also had considerable respect for the other snakes within their wet rainforest territory in Belize
and Guetemala, the jumping pitviper (Atropoides mummifera) and rainforest
hognosed pitviper (Porthidium nasutum).