There are over thousand species of snakes in the world, and a few of them are extremely rare to be spotted. One of such species is Farancia erytrogramma, also known as Rainbow Snake or eel moccasin.
A rainbow snake was recently spotted at the Ocala National Forest by two women hikers. The snake, almost four feet long, was a rare-sighting in the forest. The news was reported in a Facebook post by Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on February 19.
This was the first sighting in over 50 years within the country, since it was last seen in 1969 in Marion County. The biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have speculated that the snake might be on move due to a recent drawdown from Rodman Reservoir.
Farancia erytrogramma or rainbow snake are nonvenomous and highly-aquatic reptiles. They are endemic to coastal plains of the southeastern United States. They earn the name ‘eel moccasin’ because of their habit of eating eels. They also prey on small frogs, tadpoles, and salamanders
Rainbow snakes are rarely seen as they spend most of their lives in the water. They are strong swimmers and can also burrow into mud and sand.
There are two recognized subspecies of Rainbow Snake – the common rainbow snake and the southern Florida rainbow snake. The latter was declared extinct on October 5, 2011.