The blunt-headed tree snake ( Imantodes cenchoa ) is native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, where it enjoys living high up in the treetops and eating insects, small lizards, and other small prey.
Blunt-headed tree snakes get their name from their unusually large heads, which make up at least half of their body length! They are easily identifiable by their colors: white or yellow with black or brown spots across their bodies and tails, and bright orange bands around their tails.
What is the blunt-headed tree snake?
The blunt-headed tree snake is a mildly venomous snake, slender species of South American tree snake. These active climbers can grow up to 4 feet long and may live upwards of 20 years.
The blunt-headed tree snake is primarily green in color, with darker markings along its back, and has an occasional orange or blue tint to its skin, particularly on its belly. Its scales are small and smooth, giving it a glossy appearance.
Its head features two large eyes that give it excellent vision—but also leave it vulnerable to predators that hunt by sight. Its tail is prehensile, allowing it to hang from branches without falling off; when threatened, these snakes will often drop from their perch and coil around their attacker’s neck like a lasso before biting down.
Where does it live?
Found in southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, blunt-headed tree snakes inhabit tropical rainforests. They are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time high up in trees. Their preferred habitat is large oak and pine forests with a rich leaf litter layer.
In captivity, they can also be found living in partially shaded rooms or enclosures. These snakes do not like direct sunlight and should never be exposed to it. These animals have been observed using abandoned rodent burrows as shelter during extreme weather conditions such as heavy rains or cold temperatures.
It’s important that you provide your snake with an adequate hiding place that mimics its natural environment. A hollow log filled with leaves makes for a great hideout
What does it eat?
The blunt-headed tree snake typically feeds on small vertebrates and lizards, but they have been known to eat birds and rodents. Larger snakes tend to eat bats, while younger snakes feed on insects. They do not attack humans. If kept as a pet, it should be fed with mice or rats once a week.
What is its habitat?: The blunt-headed tree snake is native to South America, where it can be found in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It prefers rainforests with dense vegetation like trees and shrubs. This species of snake is nocturnal and spends most of its time hiding in foliage during daylight hours. It will also climb trees if necessary.
Are there similar species?
The blunt-headed tree snake is part of a class of snakes called Dipsadidae, which includes over 100 species. Most of these snakes are found in Central and South America. Although some can get quite large, many don’t grow larger than 10 inches long.
The blunt-headed tree snake is also considered a dwarf species and doesn’t grow much longer than 16 inches. (Source) What do they eat?: Like most tree snakes, these guys are primarily insectivores. They like to dine on small arthropods such as spiders and termites. They also enjoy small lizards and frogs! (Source)
How big can it get?
This species of tree snake can grow up to 9 feet long. However, they rarely ever reach that length in captivity. Most snakes will average anywhere from 4-6 feet in length. Their maximum lifespan is 10 years. What do they eat?: The blunt-headed tree snake is a constrictor.
They are excellent climbers and spend most of their time in trees hunting for birds and small mammals. In captivity, it’s important to feed them pre-killed mice or rats because live rodents may bite your pet as it attempts to kill them. They are also known to eat lizards and other reptiles if given an opportunity.
What color are they?
Most blunt-headed tree snakes have a brown body, which helps them camouflage among branches. But if you catch one in sunlight, you’ll notice that their bellies are white. These snakes have dark markings above their eyes and on either side of their heads; these patterns can range from solid dark colors to a lighter tan or gray (due to specks of darker colors).
A larger white blotch surrounds these markings and stretches down each side of its body. This snake is also covered with small black dots. The blunt-headed tree snake has two color phases: a light phase and a dark phase. The light phase is more common, but both exist throughout Southeast Asia.
Are they social snakes?
Yes and no. When young, blunt-headed tree snakes spend lots of time socializing with one another in order to learn their way around. As adults, however, these reptiles will spend less time with others and prefer being on their own. This is not because they dislike other snakes or being in groups; rather, it’s simply because they are adults now and can do things by themselves.
Are they aggressive?: No. In fact, blunt-headed tree snakes rarely bite humans at all—and when they do, it’s almost always a mistake (such as when a human accidentally gets too close to them). Because of their docile nature, you should have little trouble handling these creatures without incident.
Can I keep more than one?: Yes! In fact, if you plan on keeping more than one blunt-headed tree snake in your home, we highly recommend doing so. These reptiles are generally friendly towards one another and enjoy spending time together—so much so that they may even become depressed if kept apart for long periods of time.
Do they make good pets?
Although many species of snakes make for enjoyable, docile pets blunts are best left in their natural habitats. They’re poorly suited for captivity and are shy, skittish creatures that don’t enjoy human contact or attention.
Furthermore, they should never be handled—even if you do have experience with handling reptiles—as they have sharp teeth and may bite when frightened. It’s also important to note that these animals are protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), meaning it is illegal to export them across international borders without a permit.
In short, there’s very little upside to keeping a blunt as a pet. If you do want an exotic snake as a pet, stick with pythons and boas—they’re far more appropriate choices.
How do you keep them as pets?
It is recommended to keep them in a cage that can be kept at an average temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity levels ranging between 55 and 75 percent. It is important that you provide your snake with regular exercise and sunlight, as both help your pet remain healthy and happy.
However, keep in mind that these snakes are arboreal animals; they enjoy climbing up trees and will seek out crevices in which they can hide from predators. If you choose to house two blunt-headed tree snakes together, make sure that their enclosure has plenty of branches for them to climb on.
Be aware that males may fight one another when kept together; if possible, it’s best to only house one male per enclosure or creates separate enclosures for each male. Remember that even though these snakes can grow quite large, they do not require very much space to thrive. A 10-gallon aquarium should suffice for most adults.
Are they venomous/poisonous?
No, blunt-headed tree snakes are not venomous/poisonous. They do have fangs, though, which means they can bite and even scare away predators. They also secrete a foul-smelling liquid from their skin when threatened. In general, these snakes are not aggressive but will defend themselves if necessary.
If you’re bitten by a blunt-headed tree snake, seek medical attention immediately as some bites can cause anaphylactic shock in humans. However, such instances are rare. Be sure to keep your pets away from any that you might find in your yard or neighborhood!
How big are they?: The average length of adult blunt-headed tree snakes is 2–3 feet long (about 60–90 cm). However, individuals have been known to grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long. Some sources claim that larger specimens exist, but we don’t know much about them because no formal studies on maximum size have been conducted.
Should I get one if I am inexperienced in keeping snakes or handling large animals in general?
The blunt headed tree snake is an expert climber, a stealthy predator and can be handled by even novice snake keepers. It’s very rewarding to handle such a large animal, but you do need experience in handling snakes.
If you’ve never handled snakes before, it might be best to start with something smaller like a ball python or corn snake. However, if you are willing to take on the challenge of caring for one of these magnificent creatures then I encourage you to give it a try!
Just make sure that your family members are okay with having a large snake around your home! Also, remember that these snakes grow up to 4 feet long so they require plenty of space. Be sure to read our care guide carefully and use common sense when keeping any reptile as a pet.
If I have small children will they hurt my snake?: While young children may accidentally harm your pet while playing, there is no reason why they should pose any danger to them. These animals are nonvenomous and completely harmless unless provoked or threatened.
Can I handle this snake if I’m arachnophobic (afraid of spiders)?
Handling a blunt-headed tree snake (Corallus hortulanus) is not for everyone. These arboreal snakes can be very jumpy and may react by striking or biting if held incorrectly. They are also extremely fast and will readily move away from you, which makes them difficult to catch.
If you are hesitant or fearful of snakes, we would recommend purchasing a captive-bred specimen as opposed to capturing one in nature. Captive-bred specimens have been raised on rodents so they are accustomed to being handled by humans.
However, even with a captive-bred animal, it is important that you take precautions when handling these animals so that you do not get bitten or scratched. The best way to handle these animals is using tongs or forceps instead of your hands.
This ensures that your hands never come into contact with their fangs and teeth. It also helps prevent injury from accidentally getting bit while trying to hold onto them!
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