Leeward Island racer (Alsophis rijgersmaei)

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Female Leeward Island racer in grass
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Leeward Island racer fact file

Leeward Island racer description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyColubridae
GenusAlsophis (1)

This medium-sized snake has a pointed head and pale to chocolate brown skin, fading to pale yellowish-pink or brown on the underside. Some have black markings across the body and a darker brown stripe can be seen running from the nostrils through the eyes to the neck. Juveniles have a particularly pointed tail and a dark V-shape on the head (2).

Size
Length: 110 cm (2)
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Leeward Island racer biology

Little is known of the biology of the Leeward Island racer. It is diurnal, hunting for small lizards, frogs and turtles during the day and lying in the sun. It is more active in the rainy season and rarely seen during the dry season (2).

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Leeward Island racer range

Found in low numbers on St Martin and St Bartholomew Islands in the Lesser Antilles, and on Anguilla (1) (4).

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Leeward Island racer habitat

Inhabits humid rocky crevices and cracks in walls and may also be found in piles of leaves and occasionally in trees. It is rarely seen in open spaces (2).

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Leeward Island racer status

The Leeward Island racer is classified as Endangered (EN A2ce, B1 + 2ce) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and is listed on Appendix III of the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered

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Leeward Island racer threats

The Leeward Island racer population is declining and has become extinct in some areas. This is due to a combination of predation by introduced rats, cats and mongooses, the burning of vegetation for agriculture and persecution by man (2).

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Leeward Island racer conservation

One of the rarest snakes of the Lesser Antilles, the Leeward Island racer will only survive if introduced predators are exterminated from its range (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For further information on this species see: Breuil, M. (2002) Histoire naturelle des amphibiens et reptiles terrestres de l'archipel Guadeloupéen. Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Diurnal
Active during the day.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2005)
    http://www.redlist.org
  2. Breuil, M. (2002) Histoire naturelle des amphibiens et reptiles terrestres de l'archipel Guadeloupéen. Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.
  3. Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (March, 2005)
    http://www.jiwlp.com/contents/bern.pdf
  4. Anguilla National Trust (March, 2005)
    http://www.ant.ai/news.1.98.htm
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Image credit

Female Leeward Island racer in grass  
Female Leeward Island racer in grass

© Karl Questel / Association ALSOPHIS

Karl Questel
karlquestel@gmail.com
http://alsophis-antilles.blogspot.com/

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