Snakes in Chile



There are only 2 species of snakes in Chile and both are small and relatively harmless. A geography reminder to many that Chile is not a tropical country and is relatively isolated by the driest desert in the world to the north, the Atacama, and the Andes to the east, and the Pacific to the west so large venomous snakes like those found in the Amazon are not here.

The most common snake is the chilean slender snake or short tailed snake , culebra de cola corta, and  in latin Tychymenis chilensis.  It is found over most of Chile and while the peruvian species can be fatal, the chilean species is not. It is a venomous snake and the bite can be painful but it is not known to be fatal but then there have not been many recorded bites as it is rarely found. The snake in the picture above was found near a creek in the woods near our farm. It is a greenish brown with brown or black stripes.

The other snake is the chilean long tailed snake or culebra de cola larga and in latin Philodryas chamissonis. It is endemic to Chile and it’s range is from Copiapo in the north to Valdivia in the south. It is gray with black and white stripes and can grow up to 4 feet in length. Not much information is available on it because it is so uncommonly seen. The bite can be painful and cause swelling but is not known to be fatal.




5 thoughts on “Snakes in Chile

  1. Really? That is really amazing that there are only two indigenous to the area…when they are so close to other notoriously snake-populated areas. I understand your reasoning…the world is amazing in the way it works. I think it is interesting that there haven’t been any others introduced to the region by humans, which has happened in other places around the world. Just two…wow.

    • Chile is very strict about agricultural and animal controls on the borders. But accidents do happen like the controlled introduction of beavers into southern patagonia to develop a fur trading business. Now the beavers are destroying protected trees and the government wants to kill all the beavers. Ooops. Who da thunk? They have no natural predators here so it was like shangri-la for the beavers.

  2. I enjoyed learning about the snakes there. I know a lot of people who wished it was like that here in the US. We have many snakes, and several poisonous types. In our immediate area, though, there are only two poisonous and many non-poisonous. Just this morning one of the black rat snakes (not poisonous, just pesky) ate all of the eggs my hen was setting. I happen to like snakes of all sorts but wish they’d leave the eggs alone.

    • Yes, growing up in Connecticut I remember the black snake problems my Mom had in her hen house. I am so glad we don’t have that problem here! I just found one of my hens nesting in the tall grasses next to the pig pen sitting on 10 eggs. My only worry is the fox but he hasn’t been around in a while.

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