Sunbeam snakes...


Dear VPI,

I just recently purchased a Sunbeam snake. How do I know if it is a New World sunbeam snake, Loxocemus bicolor or an Old World sunbeam snake, Xenopeltis unicolor? The pictures I have seen of both look very similar. One was listed as "Sunbeam snake" and the other as "New World Sunbeam snake". Please help me with this if you can. Thank You! Jeremy.

Dear Jeremy,

99% of the "sunbeam snakes" that are sold are Old World sunbeam snakes (Xenopeltis). They are imported in mass and they usually cost about $20-$100 each, depending on where you buy them. Wild-caught imports have an average life-expectancy of about 4 months, so see how you do with yours. The species is very rarely bred in captivity.

The New World Sunbeams (Loxocemus) are are rarely imported and very few are captive-bred. Babies sell for about $300. They are very hardy snakes and do great in captivity. The species is one of our favorites to keep. They are docile, and undemanding snakes, very reluctant to bite.  DGB.