Banded woodsnake

Tropidophis feicki

TAXONOMY

Tropidophis feicki Schwartz, 1957, Cuéva de los Índios, San Vicente, Pínar del Rio Province, Cuba.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Banded dwarf boa, Feick's dwarf boa; French: Boa forestier de Feick; Spanish: Majá.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS This is a medium-sized woodsnake with a reported maximum length of 20 in (50.5 cm). The head of this slender snake is distinctly wider than the neck. Banded woodsnakes are boldly marked with 17-26 dark bands on the body. They are smooth-scaled, shiny, and iridescent.

DISTRIBUTION

This species is found in the western third of Cuba.

HABITAT

The banded woodsnake is associated with wooded areas. It has been collected on cliff faces and in caves, as well. While the

species is considered to be predominantly terrestrial, specimens have been found climbing in trees and vines.

BEHAVIOR

Like most woodsnakes, the banded woodsnake is a calm and docile snake that coils into a ball when threatened. This beautiful snake tends to be slow and deliberate in its movements.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The banded woodsnake feeds primarily on anoline lizards. It is reported that in captivity all ages accept appropriately sized Anolis carolinensis as suitable prey. Large adults will feed on pink mice in captivity.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

This species is viviparous. Little is known about its reproduction in nature.

The San Antonio Zoo reported on the birth of two litters of T. feicki, both born in September 1999. The eight neonates ranged in length from 5.6 in to 7.3 in (14.4 cm to 18.5 cm) and in weight from 0.07 oz to 0.12 oz (2.1g to 3.5 g). Prior to breeding, the two pairs of adult parents were subjected to both daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations. Throughout most of the year, temperatures were kept fairly constant, varying only 78-80°F (26-27°C); from December through February the daily temperatures varied from 62.6°F to 80.6°F (17°C to 27°C).

CONSERVATION STATUS

Nothing is known about the numbers in the wild. SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The banded woodsnake exists in nature largely unseen and unmolested by humans. It is one of the most attractive species of woodsnakes, but few specimens have come from Cuba and the species is rarely seen in captivity. ♦

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