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Stealths of the Shadows

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1 Stealths of the Shadows
SNAKES Stealths of the Shadows

2 Safety in the field is imperative. Never step over a log
Safety in the field is imperative. Never step over a log. Snakes often rest coiled up next to objects, and you may get bitten when your foot startles them.

3 Instead, always step on logs then take a stride off.

4 In Sri Lanka, cobra charmers are plentiful
In Sri Lanka, cobra charmers are plentiful. BTW, just where is that big snake going???

5 Typical cobra stance photo by Thomas Eimermacher

6 Most snakes crawl on the ground or climb trees.

7 But, in the tropics, some snakes fly
But, in the tropics, some snakes fly! Chrysopelea from SE Asia (National Geographic).

8 Fer-de-lance, called a Tommygoff in Belize. Bothrops asper.

9 Can you tell why it is called a Lance-head?

10 Note how the Tommygoff looks like a pile of leaves?

11 Look again.

12 And look again.

13 We walked right by this one – the third person in line saw it
We walked right by this one – the third person in line saw it. Cockscomb, 2005.

14 These Fer-de-lances are from Trinidad.

15 Tommygoff in Rabinowitz’s wrecked airplane
Tommygoff in Rabinowitz’s wrecked airplane. Orlena Tampira & Ryan Englebrecht looking into the hole (bottom left is what they saw; Dr. Bob leaning inside plane to take the photo of the 6 ft fer-de-lance on the right).

16 Dead Tommygoff found on the highway by Sydnoid.

17 Bothriopsis bilineata - Perú

18 Eyelash Palm-Pitviper, Bothriechis schlegelii - Belize
Photos by Marceau Ratard

19 Eyelash Palm-Pitviper, Bothriechis schlegelii, juvenile
Eyelash Palm-Pitviper, Bothriechis schlegelii, juvenile. This species often rests flat against tree trunks in Belize forests. photo by Thomas Eimermacher

20 Cantil, Agkistrodon bilineatus - Belize

21 Cantil head shots.

22 What is this?

23 A hawk moth caterpillar, Hemeroplanes ornatus photo from Natural History Magazine

24 Puff Adder, Bitis arietans - Africa

25 Saw-scale Viper, Echis coloratus – Note that it is lying with its sides curved & in contact. This allows it to rub its sides together and make a loud hissing sound. Africa

26 African Horned Viper, Cerastes cerastes: Convergent with the American Sidewinder Rattlesnake due to use of desert habitat; nestles down in the sand and ambushes prey.

27 Velvety-Green Night Adder, Causus resinus – Africa - not all vipers look like venomous snakes.

28 Bibron’s Burrowing Asp, Atractaspis bibronii – Africa – feed on rodents in burrows; have the ability to move the fangs out of the mouth, pointing to the rear, an adaptation for envenomating a number of mice as they scurry away and past the predator in the burrow. Don’t try to pick them up behind the head – they can bite backwards! Photo by Harry W. Greene.

In the U.S. and Belize, remember this poem: Red and yellow kill a fellow, red and black friend of Jack. This means that if red rings touch yellow rings, it is venomous; if red rings touch black rings, it is not venomous. Warning: This does not work everywhere – check out some of the venomous coral snakes in the following slides.

30 Are all red, yellow (tan), and black non-venomous snakes actually mimicing venomous coral snakes?
That is the theory, but there is a strong possibility that this color combination is cryptic. Remember, they mostly live underground. Also, when lying still, they tend to be obvious, but when they are 1) in the shade or 2) begin to move, they are extremely cryptic.

31 Non-venomous Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum, from Cockscomb, Belize – 2002.

32 False Coral, Erythrolamprus mimus, a mildly venomous coral snake mimic.

33 Calico False Coral Snake, Oxyrhopus petola – a non-venomous nocturnal snake - Belize

34 Guatemalan Neck Band Snake, Scaphiodontophis annulatus – how did this evolve? - Belize

35 Scaphiodontophis juvenile from Cockscomb, Belize.

36 Large Coral Snake, Micrurus lemniscatus – Trinidad (by John Moyle)

37 Maya Coral Snake, Micrurus hippocrepis – Cockscomb, Belize

38 Spix’s Coral Snake, Micrurus spixii – South America

39 Aquatic Coral Snake, Micrurus surinamensis – displaying - Amazon Basin


41 Black Mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis – note the venom drops – Africa
Black Mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis – note the venom drops – Africa. The pink skin is possibly the result of a viper bite.

42 In the south Pacific, there is an octopus that mimics a sea snake

43 Mussurana, Clelia clelia: As an adult, mussurana’s eat snakes; as juveniles, they eat lizards (see a specimen extruding from a wound in this dead specimen’s side). As an adult it is very dark, but as a juvenile, it looks a bit like a coral snake.

44 Black-striped Snake, Coniophanes imperialis - Belize

45 Scorpion-eating snake, Stennorhina freminvillei

46 Big-headed snake, Imantodes cenchoa - Cockscomb

47 Rain Forest Cat-eyed Snake, Leptodeira frenata - Tikal

48 Northern Cat-eyed Snake, Leptodeira septentrionalis - Belize

49 Cat-eyed Snake, Leptodeira septentrionalis, eating the eggs of the Red-eyed Frog.

50 Mexican Parrot Snake, Leptophis mexicanus - Belize

51 Sydney captured a Green Parrot Snake, Leptophis ahaetulla (non-venomous) along the Sibun River as we floated out of the cave.

52 Dr. Bob gets nailed by a Green Parrot Snake (non-venomous, of course).

53 Puffing Snake, Pseustes poecilonotus - Belize

54 Puffing Snake defensive posture – puffing up to look bigger and looking like a twisted vine or stick.

55 Puffing snake mouths (note the open epiglottis on the left – allows the snake to breath while swallowing prey)

56 Green rat snake, Senticolis triaspis, Belize

57 Speckled racer, Drymobius margaritiferus, Belize

58 Indigo Snake, Drymarchon corais – northern Mexico.

59 Indigo Snakes, or Crebos, are tan in Belize: Dr
Indigo Snakes, or Crebos, are tan in Belize: Dr. Bob (l) & Alexandro Ack (r).

60 Coffee Snake, Ninia sebae, a reclusive soft-bodied invertebrate eater - Belize

61 Coffee snake, Ninia atrata, from Trinidad.

62 Brown Vine Snake, Oxybelis aeneus – note the open mouth threat display - Belize

63 Green Vine Snake, Oxybelis fulgidus – a lizard eater that often extends and vibrates its tongue as a lure for its prey – Belize.

64 Asian Vine Snake, Ahaetulla prasinus- note the horizontal pupils.

65 Oookie!!!! Of course you’ll have a chance to try this!

66 Hydrodynastes gigas – South America

67 Liophis anomalous - Argentina

68 Cloudy Snail-Sucker Snake, Sibon nebulata - Belize

69 Snail-eating Thirst Snake, Dipsas brevifacies, a snail eater from Belize

70 Philodryas laevisquama, a new species from Bolivia by Dirk Embert

71 Philodryas arnaldoi, a very rare racer of the Araucaria forests of southeastern Brazil. By Marcos Di-Bernardi

72 Philodryas baroni, an arboreal snake of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia that is dichromatic.

73 Philodryas chamissonis, a common racer of central Chile.

74 Philodryas cordata, a racer from a tepui in Venezuela.

75 Philodryas mattogrossensis, a racer of the grasslands of central Brazil.

76 Philodryas olfersi, Brazil and most countries in South America.

77 Philodryas patagoniensis, a very common grassland snake from Brazil through Argentina.

78 Philodryas psammophideus andensis, a new subspecies from Bolivia.

79 Philodryas simonsi (l) and P
Philodryas simonsi (l) and P. tachymenoides (both of montane Perú) by Harald Nicolay

80 Philodryas viridissimus – an Amazonian snake that might prefer the canopy. by Dick Bartlett

81 Thamnodynastes sp.- South America

82 Tachymenis peruviana (l) and Tomodon dorsatus – both are being placed in Thamnodynastes. South America Tomodon photo by Marcos Di-Bernardo.

83 Hemipenis of Philodryas chamissonis
Hemipenis of Philodryas chamissonis. Note the ornamentation: spines, calyces (pits), sulcus spermaticus (left figure; lipped grooves that carry sperm), shape, lobes, etc.

84 Hemipenis of Philodryas nattereri, sulcate surface on the left.

85 Hemipenis of Philodryas patagoniensis, sulcate surface on the left.

86 Hemipenes of two species of Thamnodynastes – unique in their variation.

87 Hemipenes can make good hats, too!

88 Tropidodryas striaticeps – Brazil
Tropidodryas striaticeps – Brazil. This aggressive snake has an interesting tail tip (attracting prey?) and enlarged scales on its rear-lateral dorsal scales (for rubbing and making sound).

89 Some snakes, especially those with brightly colored bellies, will hide the head and lift the curled tail when confronted by a predator.

90 Some snakes will avoid predation by “playing dead” (letisimulating).

91 Brahminy Blind Snake, Ramphotyphlops braminus – Pan-Tropical

92 Leptotyphlops albifrons - Trinidad

93 Anaconda, Eunectes murinus - Venezuela

94 Who is winning?

95 Anacondas mating – often, more than one smaller male is in pursuit
Anacondas mating – often, more than one smaller male is in pursuit! The female is the biggun in the middle. National Geographic Magazine

96 Emerald Tree Boa, Corallus caninus - note the heat receptors on the lips – South America

97 Cook’s Tree Boa, Corallus ruschenbergii - Trinidad

98 Rainbow Boa, Epicrates cenchria - Venezuela

99 Burmese Python, Python molurus – SE Asia

100 Tony Garel’s supersized Burmese Python – Belize Zoo.

101 Ball Python, Python regius - Africa

102 Boa constrictor, Tikal

103 Everyone loves to hold a wild boa!

104 Dr. Bob’s boa has lots of large teeth!

105 Cloaca. No more snakes here!

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