Snakes in Costa Rica

Free Travel Guide

The Biggest, Brightest, and Most Deadly

There are a vast collection of Snakes in Costa Rica. With over 130 or more species found here. You may be deathly afraid of snakes or absolutely fascinated, there isn’t really a middle ground. Snakes in Costa Rica do not have a good reputation. Even the non-venomous ones have attacked. Although that shouldn’t hold you back from visiting. We have put a list together of all the most dangerous and colorful snakes you will find here. From the Costa Rica snake like the Fer De Lance or (Terciopelo) to the Boa Constrictor. We have classified them in two ways to keep it simple. Venomous and also Non-Venomous.  

Costa Rica Snake Safety

Before you go off into the deep rainforest it is good to know a little bit of safety. Firstly, know when to go. During the wet season Snakes in Costa Rica are everywhere. Especially on rainforest trails and trees. So before going at it alone perhaps bring along a guide that knows the safe route and how to spot such snakes.  Snakes sightings do tend to be rare and being bitten is even rarer but you can never be too safe. 

Where to Visit the Snakes in Costa Rica

If you do want to see a Costa Rica Snake up close it is best to go to an animal reserve. There are several throughout the country. For example, at La Paz, there is the Serpentaria. It contains all the snakes you see on this page and more. Also, you may want to go to the Jaguar Reserve on the Caribbean side in Cahuita. It contains a small number of snakes but equally amazing with many more animals to see. 

Venomous Snakes

Costa Rica snake, the Fer De Lance

Fer De Lance

Fer De Lance (also known as  Terciopelo) is by far the most common and most dangerous snake in Costa Rica. The growth rate is exponential with up to 90 snakes being produced per litter and the snake is known for its aggression. Because of this, it is the most lethal snake in Costa Rica. 

Green Vine Snake

Green Vine Snake

The Green Vine Snake or (Bejuquilla verde) is very slender and reaches lengths of up to two meters. Being smaller it eats mainly small animals like mice. To immobilize the prey it uses a toxic saliva from teeth near the back of its mouth.  

Bird Snake

Bird Snake

The Bird Snake or (Pajareraor) also sometimes known as the twig snake has a surprising strong venom. Though very rare to be bitten and effects take place slowly. Bird Snakes conceal themselves in trees, hiding until the perfect moment to strike.


Lyre snake

Lyre Snake

Lyre Snake or (Toboba gata) have a distinct V shape pattern on their head. Another distinctive part of lyre snakes is their teeth. They have 3 different type of teeth including recurved fronts smaller middle ones and of course the fangs.

Coral Snake

Costa Rica Coral Snake

Coral Snake or (Coral Costarricense)are also, well known. Only found in the Atlantic or Caribbean side, it is best not to confuse with other snakes as the coral is very deadly. To distinguish, they will have a yellow ring on either side of the black ring. 

Jumping Pit Viper

Jumping Pit Viper

As the name suggests the jumping pit viper lunges at its victims. Also, known as the (Mano de piedra Costarricense) in Spanish. It will reach out full body length to try and inject you with the unpleasant surprise it holds in the fangs. The longest on record was 120 centimeters. 

Snakes in Costa Rica Green Viper

Side Stripe Pit Viper

The side-striped Pit Viper or (Lora venenosa) is a master a camouflage with it brilliant leaf green color. Found Mainly in the mountainous rainforests of Costa Rica. They have a yellow-white colored stripe down the side giving away their name. 

Eyelash palm Pit Viper

Eye Lash Viper

The Eye Lash Viper or (Bocaraca Comun) is rather small but very interesting. They come in a variety of color tones but the unique part of them is the Scalley protrusions above their eye resembling eyelashes. Don’t take too close of a look though because it will attack if harassed. 

Godmans Viper

Godmans Montane

The Godman’s Montane Viper or (Toboba de altura) is great at hiding below in grass and underbrush with its dark scale designs. It is found in the mountainous areas of Costa Rica but also spans out to other countries like Nicaragua and Panama. 

Neotropical Rattlesnake

Neotropical Rattle Snake

Everyone knows this snake. Either you have seen one in person or on your favorite nature show. The most distinct part is the warnings it gives you with a rattle of its tale. At the very least they will give you fair warning before striking. Also, known as the (Cascabel neotropical) in Spanish. 

central american bush master


Bushmasters or (Matabuey) are the largest type of viper in the world. The biggest was recorded at 4 meters in length. Although they commonly grow only 2-3 meters. Similar to rattlesnakes they have a spiny end to their tale that vibrates when threatened, leading to the name the mute rattler.  

hog nosed pit viper

Hog Nosed Pit Viper

Also, venomous is the Hognosed Pit Viper or (Tamaga Comun). You will notice the hognose that this snake has resembling that of a pig. But don’t laugh for too long as it does carry an unwanted present for you if bitten. 

Non Venomous Snakes

Boa Constrictor

Boa Constrictor

The famed Boa Constrictor. It is a very large but docile snake and likes to come out at night. People love to have them as a pet above all Snakes in Costa Rica. Some have reached up top 5 meters long in captivity. Although in the wild they rarely get bigger than 3 meters 

rainbow boa

Rainbow Boa

The Rainbow Boa or (Boa Arcoiris) is a lot smaller than its cousin the Constrictor but by far more beautiful. It shines in the light with iridescent tones. They come in many different colors and are a favorite among pet owners. 

Parrot Snake

Parrot Snake

This little guy loves to feed on small lizards and bugs. They happen to be extremely slender but can be long. Ranging up to 1.5 meters in length. They also are to be mildly venomous but not enough to affect humans or be classified as venomous. Also, known as the (Lora falsa gigante) in Spanish.

coach whip


The Coachwhip or (Sabanera de bosque seco) is very good at adapting and is generally colored similar to its surroundings. They do this to hide from others and they do it well. It will reach sizes not much more than a meter in length. 

Common Road Garter

Common Road Garter

The Common Garter snake or (Guarda camino comun). They are found all over North America including Costa Rica. They range in all sorts of colors and don’t get much bigger than a meter. Their bite is non-venomous and loves to eat small lizards and insects. 

king snake

King Snake

The king snake or (Coral falsa) not to be mistaken for the coral snake. Truly the king of snakes in Costa Rica as they will eat other snakes even the venomous ones. It isn’t affected by venom and will kill its prey by strangulation. They have over twice as much constriction strength as other snakes. 

Tropical Milk Snake

Tropical Milk Snake

The Tropical Milk Snake also resembling the Coral. This color helps to protect it from predators that may be confused by its coloring. It resides in most parts of Central America and reaches up tp 1.5 meters in length. Also, known as (Serpiente de leche negra) in Spanish. 

salmon bellied racer

Salmon Bellied Racer

The Salmon Bellied Racer or (Corredora panza salmon) is very distinguishable by its belly being a bright salmon or pink color. Although, younger snakes have a much darker colours to protect themselves from predator until fully developed. 

Rat Snake

Rat Snake

The Rat Snake or (Ratonera centroamericana) is negligible non-venomous. They contain such a small size of venom that it isn’t worth being classified as venomous. But don’t be mistake they can still be dangerous and can reach size up to 3 meters in lenth. 

Snakes may be slimy, gross, and disliked by most people but without them, the animals kingdom wouldn’t be complete. Learn more about the wildlife in Costa Rica by downloading our free Nature Guide.

Snake Header

What are your favorite animals?

© Copyright 2004-2019 all rights reserved. CostaRica.Org is a Travel Agency that offers Custom Costa Rica Vacations & Packages Including Hotels, All-Inclusive Resorts and Tours.
Read our Privacy Policy - Sitemap.
Custom Itinerary +1-800-996-1139 (Toll Free)