A few days ago I posted a photo of a snake I saw in our yard. A very helpful reader suggested that I send the photo to http://www.lamica.org/teamsnakepanama.html for identification. Today, I got a reply and this is what they said:
Thanks for sending the photo! This is a juvenile Neotropical Racer (scientific name Mastigodryas melanolomus). It is a non-venomous species that feeds on mice, frogs, lizards, and some birds. As adults (yes, it will get bigger) they are mostly all brown with a light stripe on the side along the belly. They will often put up a fight and attempt to bite, but they are not venomous to humans. They are fairly common throughout Panama.
I’m glad to know what it is, and I’m happy to tell my neighbors that it isn’t venomous so hopefully no one will kill it if they spot it.
I think it’s a very pretty snake, and I love the markings on the head.