Corn snakes on Great Guana Cay, Abaco?

I was forwarded this photo posted to Facebook that shows a corn snake, Pantherophis guttata, purportedly captured on Great Guana Cay, on or near Baker’s Bay Resort. Corn snakes are native to the Southern US, not The Bahamas.

I haven’t validated the observation so cannot verify its authenticity. However, these snakes appear to travel well in landscaping plants and building materials. It would make sense if they were established near Baker’s Bay as they appear fairly common around the Abaco Club on Winding Bay near Cherokee, which is another large resort.

This observation is notable because this is the first putative observation of this introduced species outside of the Cherokee area, here on Abaco (notes on the first record there). However, a single specimen does not indicate an established, breeding population. If anyone sees one of these snakes, on Guana or elsewhere, go ahead and comment below with some information about it.

These are non-venomous snakes, but may give a nip if molested. My primary concern with the introduction, and continued spread of these snakes to The Bahamas (now found on Abaco, New Providence, and Grand Bahama) is that they will compete for food with the native snakes or perhaps even eat native animals such as the Abaco parrot, or iguanas.

If anyone knows more about the photo, please let me know. It was originally posted to Facebook by BahamasNews Ma Bey (LINK)

By | 2017-12-01T14:01:57-05:00 January 25th, 2016|Categories: herpetology, Invasive Species|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

About the Author:

Sean Giery
I am an evolutionary ecologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. My research investigates how basic ecological interactions control fundamental biological processes such as sexual selection, communication, and predation.

4 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Sandra D. Buckner January 28, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    I hope you will be able to update us as to whether the Corn Snake was intercepted on its way on to Great Guana Cay. If not it would be good to know exactly where it was found, by whom, and who took the photograph and when. Also what happened to the snake afterwards! Thank you for your continued monitoring and reporting.

  2. Sean Giery
    Sean Giery January 28, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Sandra,

    Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, at this time all the information I have is the Facebook photo. However, I do receive reports and photos fairly regularly from New Providence, Grand Bahama , and Abaco. So, if there are more corn snakes on Great Guana I expect that someone will send a photo. I’ll certainly keep on top of it.Thanks again!

  3. Avatar
    Gabrielle Lowe January 30, 2016 at 10:28 am

    It is just a matter of time and freak overlook due to how small their eggs are that the snakes being imported through sod, imported plants and building supplies, as me and my husband found a baby coral snake ( non indigenous to Grand Bahama) upon receiving our shipment of sod when finishing off our yard. Luckily we saw it before the kids or anyone got bit. Because even the smallest ones can release more venom than larger ones, due to their immaturity and not yet mature on how much or little venom necessary they must release to protect themselves. The smaller the bite sometimes ,the bigger the punch. Just saying in revelance to the corn snake mentioned recently found in Guana Cay , we will soon find many more different species as the coral snake had to have hatched from an egg in the soil as well .

  4. Avatar
    justin February 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Given the close proximity to Florida, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. They’re so adaptable this wouldn’t do good things for the fauna there for sure!

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