If you’re traveling anywhere away from home, it’s only prudent to check what dangers you may face so that you’re prepared, aware, and ready for anything you can be. Puerto Rico is a beautiful destination to visit. You will find amazing white sand beaches, lush and dense rain forests, high mountains to climb, and of course, deep caves to explore.
However, with these types of unspoiled natural landscapes, you may find hidden dangers such as snakes. Puerto Rico does indeed have snakes living in the wild. If you’re one of the 64% of Americans who are afraid of snakes, that might put you off visiting. But the reality is you are very unlikely to come across any on your trip.
However it’s still good to be prepared and knowledgeable. Below we look at what common snakes you can find in Puerto Rico and where they are found. We then look at what dangerous and poisonous snakes Puerto Rico has, the biggest snakes in Puerto Rico, and what to do if you’re bitten.
What Common Snakes Live in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is home to 11 native snake species, most of which are tiny, but there are also Boa Constrictors in Puerto Rico. Because there aren’t that many, we can review them all for you!
Most snakes pose no long-term harm to humans. However, you can still be bitten, so it’s best to avoid any snake you see and don’t put your hand in places that snakes might like or that you can’t see yourself.
1. Puerto Rican Wetland Blind Snake
As the name suggests, you will find this snake in the wetlands. This snake is blind, and its favorite locations are in termite or ant nests because it considers those bugs extremely tasty! Most of the time this snake lives underground, so you will not see it unless you go digging.
If you are looking for this snake, you will find it mainly in Northern Puerto Rico near El Yunque’s lower Tabonuco Forest. The snake is only 7 to 9 inches long, looks a bit like an earthworm, and isn’t able to bite you.
2. Flat Head Worm Snake
The flat head worm snake is very similar to other worm or blind snakes in Puerto Rico. It grows to about 10-12 inches long and has a reddish-brown body. You will find it mostly under logs, in forests, or even in caves.
It’s too small to bite you and poses no harm to humans, just like most of the snakes in Puerto Rico.
3. Richard’s Blind Snake
Richard’s blind snake, like many of the snakes in Puerto Rico, is small at around 12 inches and is often found underground feasting on ants and termites. It’s light brown with a white underbody. Its eyes do not work and are covered by scales.
The snake is too small to be of any harm to humans, and you won’t likely see it unless you go digging in the forest.
4. Blind Snake
The blind snake is another tiny snake, reaching around 10 inches long. You will find it in dense woodlands or caves, under logs, rocks, or burrowing in the dirt. It has a brown to pink body with white spots all over it.
It’s too tiny to harm you but is strong enough to rip pieces of skin off you. So consider not handling it for long or at all.
5. Grant’s Blind Snake
Grant’s worm snake or blind snake is another small snake that grows to about 10 inches long. You will find it mostly in southwestern Puerto Rico, including the island of Caja de Muertos.
It’s very docile and spends most of its time under logs, rocks, and in forests. Due to its size and habitat, it’s unlikely to meet humans and poses no threat to them.
Like many of the snakes in Puerto Rico, Grant’s Blind Snake is a tan or brown color and looks very similar to most of the smaller snakes on the island.
6. Mona Blind Snake
The Mona blind snake is another small blind worm snake. However, it’s an endangered species in Puerto Rico. It’s absolutely harmless to humans, and you likely won’t see one while visiting Puerto Rico.
It can grow to around 10 inches and, like many of the previous snakes, is a tan to brown color. It spends most of its time also under rocks, logs and eating termites and ants.
7. Coastal Blindsnake
The coastal blindsnake, as the name suggests, is found in the coastal regions of Puerto Rico. It’s similar in size to the other blind snakes on the island and is brown to purple. It can reach between 10-12 inches in length, and as with all of the islands’ blindsnakes, it poses no threat to humans.
8. Puerto Rican Garden Snake
The Puerto Rican Garden Snake is another small snake species that reaches around 12-14 inches in length and has a slender pencil-like body. The snake is often found on the forest floor and injects venom into its prey, usually small reptiles.
You may run across the snake in gardens or around your home. But if you’re really looking for one, you’ll find it near the El Portal, Big Tree, or La Mina nature trails. (Recommended: Breathtaking Waterfalls in Puerto Rico!)
The snake is relatively harmless to humans; however, it can bite you and cause some discomfort, so stay clear and don’t handle them.
Are There Venomous Snakes in Puerto Rico?
There is one snake in Puerto Rico that has enough venom to be of concern to humans. The Puerto Rican Racer is a snake that you should be aware of and watch out for. (Recommended: Spiders in Puerto Rico).
Puerto Rican Racer
The Puerto Rican Racer can grow to around 3 feet long; it’s brown with slightly darker brown around the edges of its scales. It crawls through trees and can be found in Toro Negro State Forest and to a lesser extent, in the El Yunque National Forest.
It is a venomous snake that can bite humans. The level of venom is not enough to kill most humans. However, it can cause mild swelling all the way up to immobilization of you. The numbness inflicted on you by the snake can last up to a month.
So while you aren’t in significant danger from this snake, it’s certainly going to ruin your vacation if you get bitten.
Are There Any Really Big Snakes in Puerto Rico?
There are two boa constrictors in Puerto Rico, which are the largest snakes in Puerto Rico. They are the Puerto Rican Boa and the Mona Boa. The Puerto Rican Boa can grow up to seven feet, while the Mona Boa can be around three feet but is unfortunately an endangered species.
Puerto Rican Boa
Puerto Rican Boas can grow to seven feet long and are the largest snake in Puerto Rico. The snakes are slender with a dull brown to grey color and are not venomous at all. Instead, like all boas, they wrap their bodies around their prey and crush them to death.
These snakes can swim and slither along the ground but prefer to spend most of their time hanging in trees. You will most likely find them in the northwestern region of Puerto Rico, especially the Karst region.
This snake is relatively harmless to humans, though it is big enough to wrap around an arm or even a neck if you let it.
The Mona Boa is nocturnal, so you won’t find it out during the day. It’s also relatively small, only growing to about three feet long with a slender body. It’s a cream or light brown color, with blotches of dark brown on its body.
The Mona Boa is very rare, and you will be unlikely to see one unless you go looking for one. You will mostly find them in coastal regions or other areas with shrubs, where they prefer to live.
The Mona Boa poses no harm to humans. It will not bite, and likely doesn’t have the strength to tighten itself round your arm or anything else.
Will You Find Snakes In Tourist Hot Spots?
Most of the snakes in Puerto Rico are very small and hide away in the forests under rocks or in trees. So aside from the odd garden snake, you won’t see any slithering around tourist hot spots or your hotel areas.
If you go adventuring in the forests, you could come across one of these snakes; however, in most situations, you’ll have no problem, and you won’t find any snakes unless you look.
You definitely don’t need to worry about snakes in your bed or hiding in your toilet. So you are very safe from snakes in Puerto Rico. (Recommended: Sharks in Puerto Rico).
How Do You Treat A Snake Bite?
The only snake bite you may need to treat at a hospital in Puerto Rico is from the Puerto Rican Racer. However if any snake bites you, you should seek medical treatment, and if possible, get a photo or be able to describe the snake.
- Wash the area twice a day with soap and water. Do not use alcohol or other harsh cleaning agents.
- Place a small amount of petroleum jelly over the bite and then cover with a bandage. Replace the bandage daily.
- If you have pain, use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil.
- If your pain worsens, seek immediate medical attention as your bite may be infected.
Your doctor should have further instructions or details if they believe a Puerto Rican Racer snake has bitten you.
Don’t Let a Fear of Snakes Stop You From Visiting Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is an island paradise that does have snakes. However, the snakes here are almost exclusively blind-worm snakes. You will find two constrictors in Puerto Rico that pose no risk to you. The only snake of concern is the Puerto Rican Racer snake which is not deadly but is unpleasant to be bitten by.
You should feel safe when visiting Puerto Rico from snakes, especially if you’re spending your time at the beach or in your resort.