‘Leonardo DiCaprio’ snake with bright orange eyes spotted in Panama jungle

DiCaprio’s Snail-Eating Serpent (Sibon irmelindicapriae) is the rarest of these newly discovered snake species. (Image credit: Alejandro Arteaga)

Among bushes in the foothill forests of Panama slithers a snake the color of burnt embers, with round eyes like glowing coals. The snake that will soon be called DiCaprio’s snail-eating snake (Sibon irmelindicapriae), is one of five newly discovered species living in the jungles of Central and South America. In a new study, researchers have described the new species and elucidated how gold and copper mining operations in the region may threaten other stunning snakes.

“These new snake species are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of new species discoveries in this region,” said the lead author Alejandro Arteaga (opens in new tab)President and research director of the Khamai Foundation, a non-governmental organization focused on environmental protection, said in an opinion (opens in new tab). “But if illegal mining continues at this rate, there may not be an opportunity for future discoveries.”

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