Oxyrhopus guibei

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Oxyrhopus guibei
Falsa-coral - Oxyrhopus guibei abrindo a boca.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Oxyrhopus
O. guibei [1]
Binomial name
Oxyrhopus guibei [1]
Hoge & Romano, 1977
  • Oxyrhopus trigeminus guibei
    Hoge & Romano, 1977
  • Oxyrhopus guibei
    Zaher & Caramaschi, 1992

Oxyrhopus guibei is a species of snake in the family Colubridae. The species is endemic to South America. It is often called the false coral snake,[3][4][5] but this common name can refer to any of a long list of other species, genera, and even entire families of snakes.[6][7] Many nonvenomous snakes have evolved coloration that mimics that of venomous true coral snakes, a trait which helps them avoid predation.[8]


The specific name, guibei, is in honor of French herpetologist Jean Guibé.[9]

Geographic range[edit]

O. guibei is native to central sections of South America, in parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.[2]

Conservation status[edit]

The species O. guibei has been described as common[4] to abundant.[3]


O. guibei can reach 1 m (3.3 ft)[10] to 1.25 m (4.1 ft) in total length (including tail).[11] Females can reach much larger sizes than males.[5]


The common habitat of O. guibei includes forest edges. It can be found out in the open. The snake is sometimes seen near human activity and habitation, for example, on farms and in backyards.[3]


O. guibei is mostly nocturnal, but is sometimes out basking during the day.[11] It spends most of its time on the ground,[3] but it will climb trees at times.[10]


The diet of O. guibei includes rodents, lizards, and other small animals. Rodent prey items include rats (Rattus sp.), the hairy-tailed bolo mouse (Necromys lasiurus), the house mouse (Mus musculus), the small vesper mouse (Calomys laucha),[11] the delicate vesper mouse (Calomys tener), and hocicudos (Oxymycterus sp.).[12] It will eat the lizard Tropidurus itambere and it has been observed taking white-tipped dove nestlings (Leptotila sp.).[11] Lizards it will swallow alive, but rodents it often constricts first.[13]


The female O. guibei lays eggs year-round,[3] but male and female reproductive activity slows around the end of the rainy season.[5] Clutch sizes range from about 3 to 20,[5] with an average size of about 11.[3] Longer females lay more eggs.[5] Eggs are laid in nest sites such as cavities in rock piles and abandoned rabbit burrows.[3] The female abandons the eggs once they are laid.[10]


Predators of the species O. guibei include the laughing falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans), a bird which specializes in snakes, and Erythrolamprus aesculapii, another species of false coral snake. It has also been observed in the diet of the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), which readily eats snakes, including venomous species.[4]

Defensive behavior[edit]

O. guibei performs defensive behaviors when threatened, such as "brusque" thrashing,[10] staying still or rushing to escape, compressing or inflating its body, coiling, hiding its head, or producing a cloacal discharge.[11]


  1. ^ "Oxyrhopus guibei ". ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). www.itis.gov.
  2. ^ a b "Oxyrhopus guibei ". The Reptile Database.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Braz H, Manço DD (2011). "Natural nests of the false-coral snake Oxyrhopus guibei in southeastern Brazil". Herpetology Notes 4: 187-189.
  4. ^ a b c Tozetti AM et al. (2004). "Oxyrhopus guibei (False Coral Snake). Predation". Herpetological Review 35 (2): 179.
  5. ^ a b c d e Pizzatto L, Marques OAV (2002). "Reproductive biology of the false coral snake Oxyrhopus guibei (Colubridae) from southeastern Brazil". Amphibia-Reptilia 23 (4): 495-504.
  6. ^ "Aniliidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  7. ^ "Erythrolamprus ". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  8. ^ Brodie ED, Janzen FJ (1995). "Experimental studies of Coral Snake mimicry: Generalized avoidance of ringed snake patterns by free-ranging avian predators". Functional Ecology 9: 186-190.
  9. ^ Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins; Michael Grayson. (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Guibé", p. 111.)
  10. ^ a b c d Kraus JE (2005). Fauna and flora of the campus of the Cidade Universitária Armando de Salles Oliveira. EdUSP. 2005: 70.
  11. ^ a b c d e Sazima I, Abe AS (1991). "Habits of five Brazilian snakes with coral-snake pattern, including a summary of defensive tactics". Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 26: 159-64.
  12. ^ Alencar LRV et al. (2009). "Oxyrhopus guibei (False Coralsnake). Diet". Herpetological Review 40 (3): 357-358.
  13. ^ Oliveira Andrade R, Silvano RAM (1996). "Feeding behavior and diet of the Oxyrhopus guibei Hoge & Romano (Serpentes, Colubridae)". Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 13 (1): 143-150.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hoge AR, Romano SARWL (1977). "Description of a new subspecies of Oxyrhopus Wagler (Serpentes, Colubridae)". Memórias do Instituto Butantan 40/41: 55-62. (Oxyrhopus trigeminus guibei, p. 58.)
  • Zaher H, Caramaschi U (1992). "Sur le statut taxinomique d’ Oxyrhopus trigeminus et O. guibei (Serpentes, Xenodontinae) ". Bulletin du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (4) 14a (3-4): 805-827. (in French).