Tag Archive: snakes


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae (Colubrids)

Genus/species: Langaha madagascariensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Displays striking sexual dimorphism: male has a pointed snout and body with contrasting coloration; female has leaf-shaped snout and is uniformly dark brown. 

                    female belowLangaha madagascariensis8599840662_312f136ba9_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar. Found at low elevations in much of the island. It is arboreal, living on and in vines. 

                    female belowLangaha madagascariensis3268009379_b359b1da8b_o

DIET IN THE WILD: Lizards Primarily ambush predators, rather than active foragers although it has been observed chasing skinks on the ground. Usually vertical ‘hanging’ behavior as adults, mimicking the seed pods of Malagasy plants (and perhaps deter predation, though by what predator is unclear).

                     male belowLangaha madagascariensis2981271735_2d1bf7df0f_b-2

REPRODUCTION: Egg laying.

CONSERVATION: ICUN Red list Least Concern (LC) 

Wide distribution and presumed large overall population, make it unlikely to decline fast enough to qualify for a more threatened category.

REMARKS: Venomous; bites can produce severe local pain and swelling that may last for several days. Colubrids tend to chew when they bite, further envenomating and infecting the site. 

Madagascar Rainforest MA03

References 

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Manual 2014

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/794161/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8599840662/in/set-72157620708610230/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1rx

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Family: Colubridae (Colubrids)

Genus/species: Chrysopelea paradisi 

4495384997_561475b31b_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS  Long slender black body is covered from head to tail with a yellow spotting pattern that may form a somewhat stripped pattern with red or orange splotches starting at the base of the head and extends down to the tail. The head of the snake is distinguished by the 5 yellow, or sometimes orange, bars that span its width. Length: to 3 feet. 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT  Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Habitat: Arboreal. Lives in a fairly diverse habitat, ranging from tropical evergreen rainforests with relatively sparse undergrowth to deciduous forests with undergrowth of shrubs and grasses.

DIET IN THE WILD  Carnivorous and, like all snakes, swallows its food whole. Prefers lizard species but will eat frogs, bats, small birds and small rodents. They are mildly venomous with rear fangs and also can constrict its prey, which consists of mostly lizards and bats.

PREDATORS: Preyed upon by predatory birds and large mammals.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, with internal fertilization, the female lays clutches of 5 to 11 eggs. Offspring are brightly colored like adults.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Least Concern

The species is fairly common throughout its range.

4495385953_49b8be668f_b-1

REMARKS  The genus Chrysopelea usually posses the ability to “fly.” They slither out to the end of a branch, and dangle in a “J” shape. Using the lower half of their body they form into an S. They then stretch out their ribs, flattening their bodies to double the original width. The belly region of the snake becomes concave, a shape that acts as a parachute as the snake glides on air drafts from a higher branch to a lower one. They can undulate their bodies to change directions and can glide up to 300 feet.

Borneo Rainforest BO13

References

Encyclopedia of Life: http://eol.org/pages/795382/details

California Academy docent rainforest training class 2014

WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-UM

flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449603666/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia ( turtles, crocodilians, snakes, lizards and tuatara)
Order: Squamata (scaled reptiles, all lizards and snakes)
Suborder: Serpentes (snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles)
Family: Colubridae Colubrids

Genus/species: Gonyosoma oxycephala

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Typically bright green but may also be grey with a dark line horizontally across its eye. The top of the head maybe dark green, yellow-green or yellow in color. Length of up to 2.4 m (almost 8 feet).

Gonyosoma oxycephala4185275536_412f9a05fa_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Southeast Asia. Found in primary rainforests. Predominantly arboreal (tree-dwelling).

DIET IN THE WILD: Primarily birds, eggs and bats. Will also eat frogs, lizards, bats, and other small mammals. They are fast hunters, and can capture bats in flight. Prey is killed by constriction, rather than venom.

In captivity they are usually eat mice. 

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, laying clutches of between 5 and 12 eggs

LONGEVITY: 15.1 years (captivity)

 Gonyosoma oxycephala8599840952_eb8bad64f1_k

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Least Concern LC

Common in Borneo

References

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/456476/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4185275536/in/set-72157620567930293

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1pJ

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia  (turtles, snakes, lizards, and relatives)
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae (Vipers)

Genus/species: Tropidolaemus wagleri

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Males are green in color. Females have 4 color phases. In the Malaysian phase seen here, the snake has a black background with yellow bars across it’s back, a yellow belly and green spots, one on each scale. Length to 4 ft. 

Wagler's Pit Viper 8324403992_9febc37327_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are arboreal living in the lowland tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, including southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, Sumatra, Sulawesi and southern Philippines.

DIET IN THE WILD: Ambush nocturnal predator. Like all pit vipers, T. wagleri has heat-sensing organs (called loreal pits) on its head below and in front of their eyes which are used to sense prey, even when they can’t see it. Juveniles and adult males prefer lizards, especially geckos. Females eat a more varied diet, including rats, birds, frogs and lizards, Needs only 3 meals a month.

REPRODUCTION: Viviparous (bears young alive). Litters contain 6-50 young.

PREDATORS: King Cobra.

Wagler's Pit Viper  3506502014_96d97cbdb9_b

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list; Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: They have hemotoxic, venom, preventing blood from clotting. Bites can cause local pain, swelling, bruising, and bleeding but bites are rarely fatal to humans.

The Temple of the Azure Cloud in Penang Island, Malaysia is known as Snake Temple. It was once filled with hundreds of Wagler’s pit vipers. Tourists would be photographed with the snakes. Locals collected the snakes, and, fortunately, the ones used for photography had their fangs removed.

Borneo Cave Cluster B005

References

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/790394/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8324403992/in/set-72157620567930293

California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training class 2014

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Vu

 Borneo Cave Cluster B005

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae

Genus/species: Elaphe taeniura ridleyi aka Orthriophis taeniurus ridleyi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color: yellow to beige background color that darkens to a grey-black towards the tail. A white to cream mid-dorsal stripe starts about half of the way down the body and continues to the tip of tail. Both sides of the head are marked just behind the eye with a black stripe surrounded by blue.

Cave Rat Snake aka Bat Eating Snake4496227660_4d83a12687_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Southeast Asia including Borneo. Found hanging from the walls and ceilings within caves.

DIET IN THE WILD: Mainly of bats, also rodents and birds.

Cave Rat Snake aka Bat Eating Snake7687438440_3272f123dc_k

REMARKS: Its color is paler than forest racers due to its life in limestone caves.

Borneo Cave Cluster BO03 

References

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/794893/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5252793782/in/set-72157620567930293/

Ron’s WordPress  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1pB

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Subfamily: Boinae

Genus/species: Epicrates cenchria

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Brazilian rainbow boa is one of about 12 named subspecies of rainbow boa. Color is brown or reddish brown with three parallel black stripes on the top of the head and large black rings down the back that give the appearance of dorsal blotches. There is a great deal of variation in color and marking among individuals of this species. Length is four to six feet (1.2 to 1.8 m).

Brazilian Rainbow Boa15580871426_15f0f85863_k

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Amazon Basin, and in coastal Guiana, French Guyana, and Suriname and southern Venezuela most often in humid forests.

DIET IN THE WILD: Rodents, birds, and possibly some forms of aquatic life and lizards.

REPRODUCTION: Babies are born live in litters of two to 35 (viviparous). They are usually 15 to 20 inches (38 to 51 cm) long.

LIFESPAN: To 20 years in capativity.

REMARKS: E. cenchria is named because of the iridescent sheen imparted by microscopic ridges on their scales, which act like prisms to refract light into rainbows.

Brazilian Rainbow Boa15580871146_3fc18628e1_k

 

References

 National Zoo http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Brazilianrainbowboa.cfm

The Reptile Database  http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Epicrates&species=cenchria

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1nJ

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15580871426/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae

Genus/species: Python reticulatus


Albino Reticulated Python  6196134316_755d730e34_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Largest species of python.  The giant South American Anaconda may grow  heavier ( 29 feet long & 550 pounds), but the longest snake in the world is the reticulated pythons (33 feet). Normally colored reticulated pythons have several pigments: melanin (blacks), and xanthins (yellows) amongst other more subtle colors. Lemondrop is a “lavender albino” which is the same thing as a “tyrosinase positive albino” (t-positive) which have the inability to complete the synthesis of melanin but can produce other melanin related pigments such as various shades of brown grey and red resulting the “lavender” color. A “normal albino” (t-negative) reticulated python is yellow and white with pink/red eyes. Melanin and other melanin pigments areas are pure white but non-melanin pigments are present giving alternate colors (xanthines produce yellows). To make matters more complicated different albino snakes may have mutations giving them additional color morphs.
Our albino American Alligator, (Claude) Alligator mississippiensis is a “normal albino” (t-negative) with no melanin or non-melanin pigments making him pure white. If you google “t-positive albino” or “tyrosinase positive albino” you can find more information on this condition. (Albino Appearance Ref. Nicole Chaney Biologist II, California Academy of Sciences for basic albino information).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Reticulated pythons can be found throughout Southeast Asia. Their range includes the Nicobar Islands, Burma through Indochina, and Borneo, Sulawesi, Ceram and Timor in the Malay archipelago. Found in steamy tropical rainforests near small rivers or ponds in tropical environments.

Albino Reticulated Python,  Python reticulatus  IMG_0184

DIET IN THE WILD   P. reticulatus is strictly carnivorous typically feeding on birds and mammals. This diet extends however to dogs, large deer, pigs and very rarely humans. Usually ambush predators, waiting in trees for unsuspecting prey.  They use their 100 curved teeth to capture their prey by biting then holding prey and they kill  by wrapping around them and squeezing them until the prey is unable to breath and its heart is unable to pump blood swallowing them whole.  The entire animal is digested in the snake’s stomach except for fur or feathers, which are passed with the snakes waste.

REPRODUCTION   Lays 25-80 eggs and guards nest but not hatched young.

REMARKS  Reticulated Pythons are heavily sold for their skin and meat. Also tourists visiting these areas often buy materials made from these snakes.
The largest P. reticulatus ever caught was 33 feet long in 1912 in Indonesia. The largest in captivity was from Thailand reaching a length of 28½ feet long with a girth of 37.5 inches and  weighed apron. 320 pounds.

This specimen below is a male, 14.5 ft long 60 lbs, 6 yrs old (6-22-12).

Albino Reticulated Python IMG_0182

WordPress Shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Vi

flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449603666/

Python reticulatus:  Kingdom Animalia,  Phylum Chordata,  Subphylum Vertebrata,  Class Reptilia,  Order Squamata, Suborder Serpentes,  Family Boidae

DISTRIBUTION:  Reticulated pythons can be found throughout Southeast Asia. Their range includes the Nicobar Islands, Burma through Indochina, and Borneo, Sulawesi, Ceram and Timor in the Malay archipelago. 

HABITAT:  Steamy tropical rainforests  near small rivers or ponds in tropical environments.

APPEARANCE: Normally colored reticulated pythons have several pigments: melanin (blacks), and xanthins (yellows) amongst other more subtle colors. Lemondrop is a “lavender albino” which is the same thing as a “tyrosinase positive albino” (t-positive) which have the inability to complete the synthesis of melanin but can produce other melanin related pigments such as various shades of brown, grey and red resulting the “lavender” color. A “normal albino” (t-negative) reticulated python is yellow and white with pink/red eyes. Melanin and other melanin pigments areas are pure white but non-melanin pigments are present giving alternate colors (xanthines produce yellows). To make matters more complicated different albino snakes may have mutations giving them additional color morphs.

DIET:  P. reticulatus is strictly carnivorous swallowing their food whole with backward curved teeth (which are replaced if lost) preventing escape of a bitten prey.  It typically feedis on birds and mammals but can extend to dogs, large deer, pigs and very rarely humans. They are usually ambush predators, waiting in trees for unsuspecting prey.  P. reticulatus  does not crush their prey but squeezes more tightly each time the prey exhales suffocating it or causing the heart to stop.

REPRODUCTION: Lays 25-80 eggs and guards nest but not hatched young. 

REMARKS: Non-venomous.  They are heavily sold for their skin and meat.  Also tourists visiting these areas often buy materials made from these snakes. This specimen is a male, 14.5 ft long 60 lbs, 6 yrs old.  Level one.  9-30-11

WORDPRESS SHORTLINK    http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-aE 

 


Eastern Green Mamba

Dendroaspis angusticeps  Elapidae

Distribution: indigenous to the eastern side of southern Africa.

Habitat: Green mambas make their homes near trees, often in evergreen forest, coastal scrub, or moist savannah. Bamboo thickets and mango plantations are also known to be mamba habitat.

Appearance: Green mambas are slender snakes, with a distinct head and long, thin tail.. D. angusticeps is overall glossy grass-green in color with light bright green underside.

Diet: Birds, rodents and bats.

Remarks: This venomous slender fast moving snake lives in treetops where its vivid green color is goo camouflage.

Eastern Green Mamba

Eastern Green Mamba

Red Spitting Cobra

Red Spitting  Cobra                              Naja pallida                 Elapidae                                         Distribution: Eastern Africa                                                                                    Habitat: Primarily inhabits dry savanna and semi-desert area. Commonly found in oases in desert where it hunts.                                                                                      Appearance: Maximum length of 120 cm (4 feet). Color of this species has great variation from red, deep orange, pale red, pinkish and light brown. Red Spitting Cobras found in Northern Africa have duller color while others are much brighter. The hood of the Red Spitting Cobra is narrow compared with the Indian Cobra and the Cape Cobra. It also has a small round head and a pair of rather large eyes.                                                              Diet: Frogs, rodents and birds.                                                                                      Remarks: The snake squeezes muscles around its venom gland forcing a small jet of toxic liquid through a small hole in the front of the fangs with great accuracy at the eyes of a possible predator capable of blinding or at least causing extreme pain.

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