Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Snakes (RoadKill)

Apologizes for neglecting my blog for so long. This is because I'm extremely busy with school work during this period. That said, I finally had the chance to squeeze out some time for a short trip with a few friends for a night exploration a few days back.

As it turns out, the nocturnal settings in the forest of the Central Catchment is so much different compared to the day. We saw frogs, fishes, crabs, a few interesting insects and other critters. Due to time constraints, I won't be blogging about them, but you can check out some selected photos from my flickR. :)

However, snakes always make a worthy topic to talk about and considering this is my first decent shots of one. We saw this Puff-faced Water Snake, Homalopsis buccata, about a metre long in a pond. It was practically motionless for about half an hour, which allowed me to take several nice close-up pictures. According to the SLOG blog, it is mildly venomous, but not lethal. SJ also commented on its bad temperament, which we were lucky not to experience.

We also saw another species, the Spotted Keelback Snake, Xenochrophis maculatus while walking back from to the main road. But it was barely identifiable (thanks to SJ and SD for the ID), being flattened with the innards bursting out after being evidently squashed by a vehicle. As to whether they are lethal or not, there seems to be some conflict between sources. #1 It was written that keelbacks are generally not aggressive with this species not being venomous while #2 another stated that human fatalities have been involved and all keelbacks should be handled with caution.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this?


Ivan said...

Some species of keelbacks have been reported to cause death or other significant medical problems; these are mostly from the genus Rhabdophis. I guess there is always the risk that some people might be more sensitive to these snake venoms than others.

SD said...

Actually we have to see the cause of death to be sure. It could be due to septicemia, or anaphylactic shock that kills, and these typically arent typical bite-and-sure-die-venoms. (like some hemolytic or nervous system venoms) Non-venomous bites can cause such deaths as well.

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