The deadly snakes of Sarteneja
include the large (6 foot) tommygof (Fer de lance, Cascobel; scientific
name), and the Meso American (middle American) rattlesnake
(scientific name) with a distinctive rattle in its
Both these snakes have a brown and
black diamond pattern that looks like dead leaves or grass. The tommygof can be aggressive and is
very dangerous and rattlesnakes can generally be heard because of their
rattle and are not generally aggressive.
Coral snakes found in the Sartenejan Region are
very dangerous as they are small (2 foot) and generally hide under leaves and other
litter making them difficult to see.
Many people when bitten think that
the bite is harmless, because of the small size of the coral snake, its small fangs, and no
immediate effect of the venom. The deadly effects of the bite are not felt for about 2 hours
and by then it is often too late for effective treatment.
The one species of coral snake in the Sartenejan Region only feeds on other snakes,
including its own kind, and is very deadly and best avoided.
Coral snakes are interesting because many harmless
snakes mimic the bright colours of coral snakes (red, yellow, and black). This mimicry gives
the harmless snake protection from predators. One of the brightest of these snakes,
the non-venomous milk snake (scientific name), is a predator of other
Mimicry to give protection is
called Bayesian Mimicry after the biologist that first described it. Butterflies were found
to mimic the shape and colour of other butterflies that are bad tasting to
gain protection from birds and other predators. These butterflies are also found in the
There may be one other poisonous
snake, the cantil (ref) in the Sartenejan Region. The cantil is
found throughout the Yucatan and south to Guatemala in dry forest such as that around
Extremely venomous and have short hollow fangs relatively fixed in a vertical position. Even small
coral snakes are capable of delivering a bite to any part of the human body, but most commonly the
hands, feet and ankles. Because there are no symptoms for hour’s people often disregard te bite.
Alarming symptoms may develop hours after the bite including nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and
drowsiness. The venom in general acts on the nervous system including paralysis of various nerves
including those associated with the head resulting in difficulty in swallowing, twitching of the
tongue, and pin-point pupils. In the case of fatal envenomation death is usually caused by
respiratory and cardiac failure.
Barba Anmarilla (Bothrops asper) Fer-de-lance
Most feared snake in the region. When irritated the snake coils in readiness to strike and vibrates
its tail. Are active at night. They have long, hollow fangs that are erected at the time of the
bite. Viper bites have a frightening array of symptoms including localized pain, swelling, bleeding
at the site of the bite, gums, nose, and urinary tract, drooping eyelids, difficulty in moving the
eyes, vomiting, severe headaches, difficulty in breathing, kidney damage, abnormal blood clotting,
hypotension, brachcardia, arrhythmia, and finally circulatory collapse.
In Guatemala there is a widespread belief that medicine from rattlesnakes cures cancer. The
dressed rattlesnake is dried and ground into powder, bones and all.
Crocodile attacks. Morlet’s crocodile has attacked and killed several people in Belize and the
Yucatan. In 1930 a young Belizean girl was injured by a crocodile when swimming in Laguna Perdida,
and in 1955