The Saint Lucia racer is the rarest snake in the world 

After being wiped out from mainland Saint Lucia by the invasive Indian mongoose, the Saint Lucia racer was thought to be extinct with no documented sightings since the 1800s. In 1973, a single Saint Lucia racer was found on Maria Major, a small island just 1km from the coast of Saint Lucia. The snake then became a protected species under the Saint Lucia Wildlife Protection Act and Maria Major was declared a nature reserve to protect its unique wildlife. Durrell began their work with the Saint Lucia racer in the 1990s, when two snakes were captured during a reptile survey of the island. Sightings of the snake are still very rare, but the presence of juvenile snakes on the island gives hope for the species.  

SL Racer 10 (C) Toby Ross
Animal facts

Key facts about the Saint Lucia racer

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I’m found in Saint Lucia 

Saint Lucia racers are only found on the offshore island of Maria Major

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I was almost wiped out by invasive predators 

The Indian mongoose wiped out the racer from mainland Saint Lucia 

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I’m the rarest snake in the world 

Rare sightings and evidence from island surveys, means the racer is estimated to have critically low population numbers 


estimated wild population


maximum length


protected habitat

Our conservation work

What we're doing to help Saint Lucia racers

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Establishing a captive breeding facility

The estimated wild population of the Saint Lucia racer is fewer than 50 individuals. A captive breeding facility will help to safeguard the racer’s future.
What we're doing to help
We are establishing a captive breeding facility in Saint Lucia to secure a safety net population of the Saint Lucia racer. As part of this work, we are also creating a stable source of food for the racers and monitoring their health and safety whilst they are in captivity.
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Population surveys and monitoring

We monitor the Saint Lucia racer's habitat to better understand their ecology and behaviours. Where possible, we also survey any individuals found in the wild.
What we're doing to help
We monitor the Saint Lucia racer’s habitat and carry out regular surveys on Maria Major to monitor their current population. We are also trialling habitat enhancement measures to try and help the racers. Whilst the population remains critically low, sightings of juveniles mean they are reproducing.
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Protecting offshore islands

Keeping invasive species, such as rats and mongoose, away from Saint Lucia's precious offshore islands is vital in helping these key native species survive.
What we're doing to help
We use our experience of creating successful biosecurity measures in Mauritius to support our work in Saint Lucia. We work alongside our partners to revise and strengthen the protocols in place and support them with their biosecurity checks on all of Saint Lucia's offshore islands.

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