A rare snake trying to enjoy a meal at a Florida park has paid the ultimate price.
According to a Facebook post from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a human visitor happened upon the unfortunate creature after it had already died on a trail at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.
The snake’s last meal, apparently a juvenile Keys giant centipede, was still lodged in its open mouth; the bug halfway in, halfway out.
Wildlife officials identified the orange reptile as a rim rock crowned snake. The last time one of these little guys was seen was in 2015 near the nest of a federally endangered Key Largo woodrat, the Fish and Wildlife agency noted.
Cause of death: poisoning.
The FWC said that crowned snakes are usually immune to the venom of centipedes, but “something went wrong during this encounter.”
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The state-threatened snake species lives in pine rockland and hammock habitats in eastern Miami-Dade County and the Keys. This burrowing snake, typically about seven to nine inches long, is seldom seen because it lives under debris, rocks or in cavities in underlying limestone, according to the agency. This particular one was eating out in the open, perched on a leaf.
Both the snake and arthropod will be handed over to the Florida Museum of Natural History collection.