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'Leonardo DiCaprio' Snake With Bright Orange Eyes Discovered in Panama Jungle

Five new species of snail-eating snakes have been discovered in the jungles of Central and South America. The species were named DiCaprio's snail-eating snake (Sibon irmelindicaprioae), Marley's snail-eating snake (Sibon marleyae), Vieira's snail-eating snake (Sibon vieirai), Welborn's snail-eating snake (Dipsas welborni), and the canopy snail-eating snake (Sibon canopy). The discovery was based on an evolutionary tree of Dipsadinae built by the researchers after analyzing 343 sequences of snake DNA. Most of these new species are facing challenges from illegal gold and copper mining operations which are deforesting the areas where these snakes live and decreasing the population of their food source. All of these species are arboreal, relying on a steady diet of slugs and snails, and cannot survive in deforested areas.

Photo Credit: Tyler B

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