Guide to Belize .info

Mosquitos are always hungry

Dangerous Creatures

Belize is home of many dangerous Creatures. Smaller animals actually present more of a threat to humans than large animals. To compensate for their size, nature has given many small animals weapons such as fangs and stingers to defend themselves. These are the animals you are more likely to meet as you unwittingly move into their habitat, or they slip into your environment unnoticed.

On Land                                     or in Water

Keeping a level head and an awareness of your surroundings will keep you alive if you use a few simple safety procedures. Do not let curiosity and carelessness kill or injure you.

Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Spiders are extremely poisonous arachnids (not insects). Their venom is 15 times as poisonous as the venom of the prairie rattlesnake. These venomous spiders are found in warm and temperate climates all around the world. They live in dark places, in drain pipes, under logs and rocks.

Black Widow Spider
Latrodectus hesperus

Bullet Ant

Paraponera, the so-called bullet ant (P. clavata), named on account of its powerful and potent sting, which is said to be as painful as being shot with a bullet. It is called by the locals "Hormiga Veinticuatro" or "24-hour ant", from the 24 hours of pain that follow a stinging.

Bullet Ant
Workers are 18-25 mm long and look like stout, reddish-black, wingless wasps.  The pain caused by this insect's sting is purported to be greater than that of any other Hymenopteran, and is ranked as the most painful. It is described as causing "waves of burning, throbbing, all-consuming pain that continues unabated for up to 24 hours".

Brown Recluse Spider

As indicated by its name, this spider is not aggressive and usually bites only when pressed against the skin, such as when tangled up within clothes, bath towels, or in bedding. A minority of brown recluse spider bites form a necrotizing ulcer that destroys soft tissue and may take months to heal, leaving deep scars. The damaged tissue will become gangrenous and eventually slough away. The initial bite frequently cannot be felt and there may be no pain, but over time the wound may grow to as large as 10 inches (25 cm) in extreme cases. Bites usually become painful and itchy within 2 to 8 hours; pain and other local effects worsen 12 to 36 hours after the bite with the necrosis developing over the next few day.

Brown Recluse Spider
Loxosceles reclusa
Size, max. one Belize $ Coin
The Bite

Brown Recluse Spider
Day 5
Brown Recluse Spider
Day 6

Brown Recluse Spider
Day 10
Central Amer. Coral Snake

The mild tempered Central American coral snake is probably the most common coral snake that is found in Belize. Unlike vipers that strike with their fangs, coral snakes bite their prey and they have to almost use a chewing motion to inject appropriate amounts of strong neurotoxic venom.

Central American Coral Snake
Micrurus nigrocinctus
Size, max. 3 feet / 100cm
Dart Frog

The bright coloration of the poison dart frog serves as a warning to potential predators that it is one of the most poisonous animals on earth. Most poison dart frogs have brightly colored skin which is used as a warning sign to predators. These frogs can be very small, ranging from one to 6 cm in length, depending on the age, sex, and species of the frog.
From tiny pores in its skin, the frog secretes a defensive toxin that makes it unpalatable to curious predators and which could easily kill if injected into a human or other animal. "Even a very small amount of the batrachotoxin found in the skins of the Golden Poison Dart Frog and at least two other species of Phyllobates frogs - on the order of just 40 micrograms - can be fatal"

Dart  Frog

Golden Poison Dart Frog
Phyllobates terribilis

Eyelash Palm Pitviper

This viper is a typical ambush predator, lying in patient wait for unsuspecting prey to wander by. This tree dwelling snake is a nocturnal hunter and not aggressive. The Eyelash Palm Pitviper has a strong hemotoxic venom. It has two eyelash-like pointed scales above each eye, its coloration varying between golden-yellow, green, olive green, brown, grayish-brown, with blotches or cross bands in various colors.

Eyelash Palm Pitviper
Bothriechis schlegelii
Size, max. 2,5 feet / 80 cm

The Yellow-jawed-Tommygoff are sensibly feared throughout Central America.  Also called "Yellowjaw" or "Tommy Goff" by Belizeans. These snakes  They have a strong, fast acting hemotoxic venom, they are fairly common, are hard to see, and they will strike if perturbed. This is an aggressive snake, so be weary. His bite (although responsible for the majority of snake bite deaths in the region) is rarely fatal. Although he is a very grumpy snake who doesn't tend to run away and will stand his ground and attack when disturbed, he is also quite smart and will normally give a dry bite or only partially envenomate the poor hapless soul that gets in the way.

The bite is designed to start the digestion process and to make sure the prey doesn't get very far before collapsing

Fer de Lance or Tommygoff
terciopelo, fer-de-lance
Size, max. 3 feet / 90 cm

Fer de Lance Tommygoff
Leg after a untreated Bite

Jumping Pitviper

The Jumping Pitviper, often hide's under fallen logs and piles of leaves and can be difficult to see and also armed with a strong hemotoxic venom. The color of this viper’s stocky body varies from brown to gray and it has dark brown or black dorsal blotches. It has no pattern on its head. It is a nocturnal snake that comes out in the early evening hours to feed on lizards, rodents, and frogs.

Jumping Pitviper
Atropoides nummifer
Size, max. 2,5 feet / 80 cm

Mayan Coral Snake

This beautiful Mayan Coral Snake can be very difficult to see and her neurotoxic venom is the most dangerous in Belize. She will move on or under the surface, but it most likes to move under thick leaf litter. It is usually nocturnal and feeds primarily on other snakes.  Like all coral snakes, it isn't aggressive. Unless you step on or foolishly try to catch one, you have almost no chance of being bit by this very deadly snake.

Coral Snake
Micrurus hippocrepis
Size, max. 2 feet / 60 cm
Mexican Cantil

The Mexican Cantil or also Mexican moccasin has a reputation for having a nasty disposition and being extremely dangerous. They are shy by nature, and if threatened their first instinct is usually to flee. If unable to flee they will threat display by raising their head and sometimes opening their mouth. They generally will only strike if given no other choice. Coloration can vary on their heavy body, but most are brown or black, with darker brown or black banding, sometimes with white or cream colored accents.

Mexican Cantil
Agkistrodon bilineatus
Size, max. 4 feet / 140 cm

Neotropical Rattlesnake

This Neotropical Rattlesnake is the only rattlesnake found in Belize. They can be found in swamps and feed on birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Bites from Neotropical Rattle- snake in particular can result in impaired vision or complete blindness, auditory disorders, ptosis, paralysis of the peripheral muscles, especially of the neck, which becomes so limp as to appear broken, and eventually life- threatening respiratory paralysis.

Neotropical Rattlesnake
Crotalus durissus terrificus
Size, max. 5.5 feet / 180 cm
In Canada their venom contains powerful neurotoxins with death resulting from respiratory failure. This changes gradually southward and the venom composition is overwhelmingly hemotoxic in southern Argentina, yet the snake is no less deadly. This has dire implications for medical treatment, not only in the treatment protocol, but also the dilemma that the anti-venom may not properly represent the composition of the particular region.

Hognosed Pitviper

The Hognose Viper is also called the  Horned Hognosed viper or Rhino Viper. The Hognose Viper is the only snake in Belize with a distinctly upturned snout that is at least twice as high as it is wide. Dorsally, it is a dark snake, often with a narrow cream colored mid-dorsal stripe.  It employs a strong hemotoxic venom to incapacitate it's prey.

Hognosed Pitviper
Porthidium nasutum
Size, max. 2 feet / 60 cm


Despite the legends, bats (Desmodus species) are a relatively small hazard to the survivor. There are many bat varieties worldwide, but you find the true vampire bats only in Central and South America. They are small, agile fliers that land on their sleeping victims, mostly cows and horses, to lap a blood meal after biting their victim.

Bees, Wasps, and Hornets

We are all familiar with bees, wasps, and hornets. They come in many varieties and have a wide diversity of habits and habitats. Avoidance is the best tactic for self-protection. Watch out for flowers or fruit where bees may be feeding. Nearly all honeybees in Belize are now Africanized, except the native stingless bee.

Centipedes and Millipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are mostly small and harmless.  A few varieties of centipedes have a poisonous bite, but infection is the greatest danger, as their sharp claws dig in and puncture the skin. To prevent skin punctures, brush them off in the direction they are traveling, if you find them crawling on your skin


Nearly all snakes avoid man if possible.  Most snakes get out of the way and are seldom seen. Snakes are widely distributed on Mainland of Belize. Although venomous snakes use their venom to secure food, they also use it for self-defense. Human accidents occur when you don't see or hear the snake, when you step on them, or when you walk too close to them.

Spider &  Scorpions

You can find scorpions on the cayes and in on the Mainland. They are mostly nocturnal in habit. Fatalities from scorpion stings are rare, but they can occur in children, the elderly, and ill persons.

In environments known to have spiders and scorpions, check your footgear and clothing every morning. Also check your bedding and shelter for them. Use care when turning over rocks and logs.

Tarantulas are large, hairy spiders (Theraphosidae and Lycosa species) best known because they are often sold in pet stores. The bite of a tarantula is said to be painful but not dangerous unless you are allergic to the venom. If you are bitten by a tarantula and begin to experience tightness in the chest and shortness of breath, going to a hospital emergency room would be a good idea.

In the Water                           or on Land

There are several species of venomous fish and invertebrates, all of which live in salt water. All of these are capable of injecting poisonous venom through spines located in their fins, tentacles, or bites. Their venoms cause intense pain and are potentially fatal. If injured by one of these fish or invertebrates, treat the injury as for snakebite.

Auger Shells

The Auger Shells or Terebra,  are similar to cone shells but much thinner and longer. They poison in the same way as cone shells, but their venom is not as poisonouIn some cones, the venom is powerful enough to be lethal to collectors who are not careful in handling the mollusc. World-wide, there are about 300 species

Auger Shells

Cone shells

These cone-shaped shells have smooth, colorful mottling and long, narrow openings in the base of the shell. They live under rocks, in crevices and coral reefs, and along rocky shores and protected bays in tropical areas. All have tiny teeth that are similar to hypodermic needles. Avoid any shell shaped like an ice cream cone.

They can inject an extremely poisonous venom that acts very swiftly, causing acute pain, swelling, paralysis, blindness, and possible death within hours. Avoid handling all cone shells. Three species that are known killers are the Geographic Cone (Conus geo- graphus) the Textile Cone (Conus textile), and the Tulip Cone (Conus tulipus) though around twenty cones are known to be dangerous to humans.

Cone shell
Size, max 6" or 15 cm

Cone Shells
Conidae Collection

Fire Coral

Fire corals have a bright yellow-green and brown skeletal covering and are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters. They appear in small brush-like growths on rocks and coral. Divers often mistake fire coral for seaweed, and accidental contact is common.

Fire corals are colonial marine organisms that look rather like real coral. However they are technically not corals; they are actually more closely related to jellyfish and other stinging anemones.

Net Fire Coral
Net fire coral

Plate Fire Coral
Plate fire coral
The very small nematocysts on fire corals contain tentacles that protrude from numerous surface pores (similar to Jelly Fish stings). In addition, fire corals have a sharp, calcified external skeleton that can scrape the skin.

Portugese man on war

Although it resembles a jellyfish, the Portuguese man-of-war is actually a colony of sea animals. Mainly found in tropical regions, the Gulf stream current can carry it as far as Europe. It is also found as far south as Australia.

The Portuguese man-of-war resembles a large pink or purple balloon floating on the sea. The floating portion of the man-of-war may be as small as 15 centimeters, but the tentacles can reach 12 meters in length. The huge tentacles are actually colonies of stinging cells. These tentacles inflict a painful and incapacitating sting, but the sting is rarely fatal.

Portugese man on war or Auqa Male

Portugese man on war

Scorpion Fish or Zebra Fish

Scorpion fish live mainly in the reefs. They vary from 30 to 90 centimeters long, are usually reddish in coloration, and have long wavy fins and spines. They inflict an intensely painful sting. Rockfish, also referred to as scorpion fish in the tropics, are found most often in the sand or near rocks, even where the water is shallow. It has stingers on its head and fins.

Scorpio Fish or Zebra Fish
Scorpaena plumiere
Stone Fish

Stonefish are found in the tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Averaging about 30 centimeters in length, their subdued colors and lumpy shape provide them with exceptional camoflauge. When stepped on, the fins in the dorsal spine inflict an extremely painful and sometimes fatal wound. The Stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world.

Stone Fish
Synanceja verrucosa


The Surgeonfish or Tang is average 20 to 25 centimeters in length, with a deep body, small mouth, and bright coloration. Named for extremely sharp and movable spines located on each side of their tail that are thought to resemble a surgeonâs scalpel, that cause extremely painful wounds.

Surgeonfish or Tang

Toadfish are between 17.5 and 25 centimeters long and have a dull color and large mouths. Males make the nests and guard them after the female lays the eggs.

The male attracts the female by "singing", that is by releasing air by contracting muscles on their swim bladder. The sound has been called a 'hum' or 'whistle'. They often hide in rock crevices, among the bottom vegetation, or even bury themselves in the sand and may be easily stepped on. They have very sharp, extremely poisonous spines on the dorsal fin (back).


Toad Fish


Jellyfish-related deaths are rare, but the sting they inflict is extremely painful. Most known deaths from jellyfish are attributed to the man-of-war. Other jellyfish can inflict very painful stings as well. Avoid the long tentacles of any jellyfish, even those washed up on the beach and apparently dead.


Stingrays (Dasyatidae species) are a real hazard in shallow waters, especially tropical waters. The type of bottom appears to be irrelevant. There is a great variance between species, but all have a sharp spike in their tail that may be venomous and can cause extremely painful wounds if stepped on. All rays have a typical shape that resembles a kite. You find them along the coasts of the Americas, Africa, and Australasia.

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Dangerous Portugese man on war
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