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  • Writer's pictureJust Adventures Panama

Brown vine Snake

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

Well-disguised and cryptic in its behavior, the Brown vine Snake (Oxybelis aeneus) is a colubrid snake originally described by Johann Wagler in 1824. The dull coloration is well-paired with still, outstretched positions to make the snake resemble a thin vine; sometimes they rock back and forth a little to blend in with trees blown by wind.

Inhabits one of the largest geographic ranges of any snake species. It occurs from extreme southern Arizona through southern Brazil.  This species can occur in most lowland and premontane forest types, including pine-oak and tropical deciduous and subdeciduous forests, as well as disturbed habitats with plenty of vegetation at low and medium heights.  

This highly adaptable reptile hunts in the forest undergrowth and canopy for small frogs and lizards, which it immobilizes with a mild poison. The venom of this species can cause paralysis or death in the small animals on which Brown vine Snake preys, but humans bitten by this species seldom experience symptoms worse than localized swelling or blistering.  

While populations of this species are sufficiently large and widespread that they are thought to be relatively stable, Brown vine Snake may be threatened by brush clearing, logging, and other forms of habitat destruction. 


Leenders T (2001). A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami, Florida. 

Savage, J M (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

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