Spilotes pullatus

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Spilotes pullatus
Spilotes pullatus (Puerto Viejo, CR).jpg
A serpiente tigre at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Spilotes
Species: S. pullatus
Binomial name
Spilotes pullatus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Coluber pullatus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Tyria pullata Fitzinger, 1826
  • Spilotes pullatus Wagler, 1830[1][2]

Spilotes pullatus, commonly known as the caninana,[2] chicken snake,[2] yellow rat snake,[2] or serpiente tigre, is a species of large nonvenomous colubrid snake endemic to Mesoamerica.

Geographic range[edit]

It is found in southern Central America, northern South America, and Trinidad and Tobago.[2]


Adults may attain a maximum total length of 2.7 m (8.9 ft).[2]

Dorsally, S. pullatus is black with yellow spots which may form crossbands. The tip of the snout is yellow. The head shields may be mostly yellow, or mostly black, or crossbanded with a combination of yellow and black, but the sutures between the shields are always black. Ventrally, it is yellow with irregular black crossbands.

The body is relatively slender and somewhat laterally compressed. The head is distinct from the neck. The eye is moderate in size with a round pupil. There are no suboculars, and the loreal is either very small or absent. There are 6 or 7 upper labials, the 3rd and 4th entering the eye, the last two very large. The dorsal scales are pointed and overlapping.

The dorsal scales are arranged in 16 (or 14) rows at midbody. Ventrals 198-232; anal plate entire; subcaudals 90-120, divided.


It tends to inhabit forested areas, and is often found near water.[2]


It is mainly arboreal, but also terrestrial.[2]


It feeds on a wide variety of prey, including small mammals, birds, and lizards.


Spilotes pullatus (Caninana)

Including the nominotypical subspecies, the following five subspecies are recognized:[2]

  • Spilotes pullatus anomalepis Bocourt, 1888
  • Spilotes pullatus argusiformis Amaral, 1929
  • Spilotes pullatus maculatus Amaral, 1929
  • Spilotes pullatus mexicanus (Laurenti, 1768)
  • Spilotes pullatus pullatus (Linnaeus, 1758)


  1. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, Printers.) London. xi + 382 pp. + Plates I.- XX. (Spilotes pullatus pp. 23-24.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Spilotes pullatus". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Boos, Hans E.A. (2001). The Snakes of Trinidad and Tobago. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, Texas. pp. 1–328. ISBN 1-58544-116-3. 
  • Freiberg, M. 1982. Snakes of South America. T.F.H. Publications. Hong Kong. 189 pp. ISBN 0-87666-912-7. (Spilotes pullatus, pp. 110, 140 + photograph on p. 154.)
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Decima, Reformata. L. Salvius. Stockholm. 824 pp. (Coluber pullatus, p. 225.)
S. pullatus at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica

External links[edit]