Reptoman

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   May 05

Python climbs tree in captivating video

Have you ever really considered the mechanics of how snakes climb trees?

From the Daily Mail:

Moving quickly, the top half of the snake ascends the trunk, while the bottom half of it stays coiled lower down.

Wrapping its top half around the tree, the snake then brings the rest of its body up to where its head is and begins tightly coiling itself around the trunk once more.

Once entirely wrapped around the middle section of the tree, the snake again lifts its head and ascends vertically a metre or so.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   May 05

Limbless wonders: The Western legless lizards

This is the commonly seen color and pattern of the legless lizard in southern California.

Although they have a superficial resemblance to the eastern glass lizards, the western genus Anniella, is contained in the family Anniellidae. Until very recently the genus was comprised of only 2 species, one in California and northern Baja and a second endemic to Baja California. Initially, based on coloration, the American species, Anniella pulchra, was thought to have 2 subspecies. A. p. pulchra, the California legless lizard, occurred over most of range with the black legless lizard, A. p. nigra replacing it in the Monterrey Bay and peninsula region. Examples intermediate between the California and the black in coloration were found elsewhere south of the range of the black examples.

The subspecies concept had fallen into disfavor with geneticists, so for a while, no matter its color or where within its range it occurred, the California legless lizard was considered a single entity.

However, genetics, now in vogue, eventually came into play and within the single species researchers determined that there were 5 clades. A “clade” is a group consisting of an ancestor and all its descendants, a single “branch” on the “tree of life,” and that ancestor may be an individual, a population or even a species whether or not still extant. Researchers hypothesized that there were now 6 full species contained in what was until their assessment a single species.

So add now to the still extant A. pulchra, the hypothetical species A. stebbinsi, A. alexanderae, A. campi, A. grinnelli, and A. stebbinsi.

And we still have to add A. geronimensis, from south of the border.

As 2 friends have told me, these and similar recent hypotheses by other researchers seem to be solutions to problems not yet asked. Believe me, the solution to the non-problem regarding the legless lizards does not stand alone.

These lizards, no matter their name, are accomplished burrowers. Besides making their own burrows when substrate is of the proper consistency, they may seek seclusion beneath surface debris or may enter and follow a burrow premade by a small rodent or large insect.

Most that I have found have been only a half inch or so beneath the surface or beneath boards atop a yielding sand substrate or in shallow seaside burrows.
Continue reading “Limbless wonders: The Western legless lizards” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   May 05

Herp Photo of the Day: Plumed basilisk

Alert and always keeping his eye on you, this Basiliscus plumifrons shines in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user kus!

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Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here!
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Read more here: King Snake


   May 04

Orangutan rescued amid sea of palm oil

By Herp News

The rescue, which took place in early April, was conducted by the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) in response to a report of an adult male orangutan isolated in an fragment forest surrounded by oil palm plantations. The orangutan was found to be in poor health, according to Krisna, OIC’s Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit field coordinator.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   May 04

Photos: new zoo exhibit dramatically displays real threat to Asian turtle

By Herp News

Usually animal pens in zoos are designed to resemble a species’ native habitat: lions in sprawling savanna, pandas in bamboo forests, and crocodiles in mangroves. But a new pen at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)’s London Zoo is meant to dramatically highlight not a species’ habitat, but it’s biggest threat.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   May 04

My first snake: The common trinket snake

The common trinket snake, Coelognathus helena helena, was the first snake I ever touched in my life. This snake was the one to create a strong impact on my mind to conserve and protect these beautiful creatures. Apart from me, it has helped many other people to remove their fear of snakes — which makes sense, as these snakes are very shy and avoid biting.

In India, you can find nine species of trinkets, and the common trinket is the most commonly found of all. These are the most common snakes found in my area, and they prefer staying near humans.

Common trinkets are light brown in color and have a slender body with dark brown or dark grey bands on forebody and stripes on the hind body. The average size of an adult trinket is 4 feet, and it is oviparous by nature.

It was an experience I can’t define in words,was the best feeling which I ever had in my life, when handling a snake the first time. I’m very affectionate toward trinkets to this day because they helped me become “what I am today.”

I would like to share the pictures of that revolutionary day.

…read more
Read more here: King Snake


   May 04

Over 30,000 acres needed for tiger salamander recovery

Sued by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally developed a recovery plan for endangered tiger salamanders.

From IndyBay.org:

The recovery plan focuses on alleviating the threat of habitat loss and fragmentation by permanently protecting breeding ponds and their adjacent uplands through acquisition and conservation easements. Because the majority of the remaining habitat for the Santa Barbara County California tiger salamander is on privately owned lands, habitat-based conservation efforts will require the cooperative efforts of both local agencies and private partners.

“Because we’ve already destroyed so much of their natural habitat, recovering and protecting the places these unique tiger salamanders need to survive won’t be easy,” said Loda. “But we can’t afford to lose this special amphibian, so I hope federal, state and local agencies as well as developers will all step up to support the hard work of recovery.”

Although Santa Barbara California tiger salamanders have been protected under the Endangered Species Act for more than a decade, the Fish and Wildlife Service had not developed a required recovery plan to guide management of the species. In April 2012 the Center sued the Interior Department for its failure to develop such a plan for the endangered salamanders; the plan released today is the result of the December 2012 settlement agreement that resulted from this lawsuit.

gallery photo by user TXCobraman

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   May 04

Herp Photo of the Day: Roughneck monitor

This black Roughie is monitoring the world in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user cynthy07!

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Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here!
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Read more here: King Snake


   May 04

94 trafficked pangolins released into Sumatran wilds after massive bust

By Herp News

Following a major seizure of illegal wildlife goods in North Sumatra, the Indonesian authorities released 94 critically endangered pangolins into the wild last week, including a newborn whose mother died shortly after the authorities caught up with the traffickers. Five tons of pangolin meat were burned in the wake of the bust.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   May 02

Two new iguanid lizard species from the Laja Lagoon, Chile

By Herp News

A team of Chilean scientists discover two new species of iguanid lizards from the Laja Lagoon, Chile. The two new species are believed to have been long confused with other representatives of the elongatus-kriegi lizard complex, before recent morphological and genetic analysis diagnosed them as separate.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   May 01

Brazilian Amazon nears deforestation threshold past which wildlife may crash, says study

By Herp News

A study on the impact of forest loss on biodiversity, recently published in the journal Conservation Biology, shows that one-third of the Brazilian Amazon is headed toward or has just passed a threshold of forest cover beyond which species loss accelerates and is more damaging.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   May 01

Ongoing overkill: loss of big herbivores leading to ‘empty landscapes’

By Herp News

Ten thousand years from now, human historians—or alien ones—may view the current wave of biodiversity loss and extinctions as concurrent with the Pleistocene extinction. At that time, peaking around 11,000 years ago, many scientists argue that human hunters killed off the majority of the world’s big species. According to a paper today in history may be repeating itself.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   May 01

The Southern copperhead: A marvel of camouflage

I am well aware of the new paper regarding the new classification of copperhead genus Agkistrodon, but for the purpose of this post I will regard the southern copperhead as Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix.

The southern copperhead is common throughout its range, utilizing a variety of habitats. A good night of road cruising can produce a half dozen or more specimens. The southern copperhead is our most common pit viper. Their ability to adapt to virtually any habitat, including areas around humans and their generalistic feeding habits, have made them quite successful.

Copperheads will feed on lizards, frogs, salamanders, small rodents, and even certain insects. Cicadas seem to be a favorite meal.

Copperheads are ovoviviparous and litter size typically ranges between 6-8, but litter sizes well over a dozen are not uncommon.

One of the most amazing aspects of the southern copperhead is its camoflauge. When sitting perfectly still in leaves it becomes practically invisible.

Please remember if you go out looking for these that although the venom of the southern copperhead is considered “mild” compared to that of other pit vipers, here in the southeast an envenomation is quite serious and if you are bitten seek medical attention immediately! In my opinion, there is no such thing as a “mild” bite. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   May 01

Herp Photo of the Day: Savu python

Get yourself a closer look at the Savu python in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user chefdev!

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Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 30

Tapping into evolutionary responses to guard crops against elephants

By Herp News

The search for effective measures to reduce human-elephant conflict is a top priority for wildlife managers and a significant challenge. Ongoing conflict incidents exacerbate anti-wildlife sentiments among rural populations, as conflict events can lead to the deaths of both people and elephants. The continued expansion of development and agriculture into traditional wildlife grazing lands pushes elephants into more frequent contact with people and crop fields.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Apr 30

Gabon viper calls Angola home

Once considered to be non-existent in Angola, a new study reveals the country is home to Gabon vipers.

From SpyGhana.com:

Bitis Gabonica, commonly known as the Gabon viper, is a venomous viper species found in the rainforests and savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. It is not only the largest member of the genus bitis, but also the world’s heaviest viperid, and it has the longest fangs and the highest venom yield of any venomous snake.
Angolan scientist Paula Regina de Oliveira said the species of Bitis Gabonica are the ones with teeth that could reach five centimeters long and larger glands, which allow them to accumulate large amounts of venom.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 30

Beware of dwarf caimans

 I would call this an intent look! Juvenile smooth-fronted caiman.

Many years ago, I decided (to my own satisfaction) that although most caiman are hatched feisty, the 2 species of the so called dwarf caimans of the genus Paleosuchus are hatched actually evil.

We see the smooth-fronted species, Paleosuchus trigonotus, on almost all of our trips to the Peruvian Amazon and no experiences I’ve had with them has altered my opinion in the least. In fact, if anything, my interactions involving this caiman, be they hatchlings or adults, have cemented my opinions ever more firmly.

The scales of this brown-eyed caiman are heavily ossified, providing an alternate name of armored caiman. Comparatively small though they may be, these 4 to 6 foot long alligator relatives are strong, have very sharp teeth, immensely strong jaws, are perpetually ready to do battle, and our guides and I have learned to afford them much respect.

A couple of years ago, a few early arriving clients (experienced herpers, all) got together on a rainy night before my arrival and decided to roadhunt the road to Nauta. After all, isn’t that what herpers do? Somewhere along the way they encountered a 30 inch long smooth-fronted caiman, just sitting on the wet pavement minding its own business.

They stopped to look at it. It looked like, with minimal repositioning it would make a fine photo. One of the group attempted to reposition the little beast with a stick only a few inches long. Now this would have been fine for a spotted salamander, but for a 30 inch smooth-front?

Nope. It didn’t work. Didn’t even come close to working. And the result? Another herper learned respect for “little-but-feisty” beastie. I just wish I had been there to watch the action.

It’s always good to start a trip with a little entertainment.
Continue reading “Beware of dwarf caimans” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 30

Herp Photo of the Day: Coelen's python

The Coelen’s python may be a hybrid, but they are still are so beautiful that they deserve a spot in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user JonathanH!

Be sure to tell JonathanH you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 29

Featured video: the Uncharted Amazon trailer

By Herp News

The up-coming documentary, Uncharted Amazon, promises to highlight both the little-seen wildlife and the people of the Las Piedras River system in the Peruvian Amazon, one of the most remote wildernesses on the planet.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Apr 29

The Adventures of Booger and Teddy… – New Name and changes.

So on April 4th we moved from Oklahoma to Missouri taking Teddy and Booger with us. Pokey and Tammy found a new home with a neighbor who loves turtles and have an area in her backyard for them. So now its the adventure of Booger and Teddy and it still seems to be an adventure. Booger is still living up to his name and Teddy is still plodding along and showing her attitude.

So where we are now is much smaller than Tulsa OK and they have absolutely nothing for turtles other than aquatic turtle sticks so I’m working on building stuff back up. Lots of dandelions and apples are being eaten and since there aren’t any water beetles we’ve gone to night crawlers, all organic since I dig them up in our own yard. They love them!

Now to start up on working on an outdoor enclosure and even a bigger inside one…here we go again!
…read more
Read more here: Turtle Times


   Apr 29

River bath disturbance: Indian rat snake

Last month I visited Kerala, a south Indian state, with my friend and rescuing partner Axy (Akshay Parhalkar) and our teacher Mr. Iqbal Shaikh (a legend of Indian herpetology and holder of the title “snake man of India” during the 1970s) in search of King Cobra. We weren’t lucky enough to find one, but still had some great experiences.

It was the last day of our trip so we decided on a riverside jungle herping adventure. For the first two hours we were not able to find anything. Tired and exhausted, Axy and I decided to have a quick bath in the river. I still remember the lines said by Sir, “Don’t go too far, as I have a strong feeling that we’ll get something at the river bank only.”

Keeping that in mind, we were swimming close to the riverbank and suddenly we heard some villagers shouting, “Snake snake.” Hearing that word, Axy and I ran and jumped between the huge river rocks towards the direction of the crowd. After reaching the spot we realized that both of us forgot to wear our clothes and we were just wearing our boxers/underwear, but we didn’t let it bother us and continued with our task.

It was a fat and healthy 8-foot Indian rat snake trying to hide under a rock, so I pulled it out gently. It didn’t take much time for the snake to turn into an aggressive creature, so we decided to do a head catch. It was a strong snake so it was a bit difficult for head catch and Axy got bitten while doing the head catch. After making the snake calm we got dressed and clicked some photographs.

The most embarrassing and funny part of this incident was that we were watched and clicked by more than 20 villagers during the task when both of us were “almost naked.” This incident still makes us laugh and it adds an unforgettable experience to my life.

…read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 29

Florida "Python Patrol" met with criticism

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is offering workshops to help people identify and report Burmese pythons, but not everyone agrees that the pythons are a problem.

From WUFT News:

“This horse has been beat so many times,” said Eugene Bessette, commercial snake breeder and owner of Ophiological Services, a snake farm on Archer Road.

Even though Burmese pythons are not indigenous to South Florida, Bessette said he feels they are ultimately not an ecological problem.

“Ignorance is the biggest problem,” Bessette said. “People form opinions before they get the facts.”

Bessette lost a substantial part of his business when new regulations put in place in 2012 banned the importation and interstate transportation of Burmese pythons and three other constrictor snakes.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 29

Herp Photo of the Day: Blood python

This big mama blood python is holding tight to her eggs in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user AJ01!

Be sure to tell AJ01 you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 28

Five tons of frozen pangolin: Indonesian authorities make massive bust

By Herp News

Five tons of frozen pangolin, 77 kilograms (169 pounds) of pangolin scales, and 96 live pangolins: that’s the grisly haul of the latest pangolin bust in Indonesia. Officials confiscated the illegal wildlife goods in Medan, Sumatra and busted the smuggler, who has only been identified as SHB. This is the largest pangolin bust in Indonesia since 2008.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Apr 28

Illegal ivory trade alive and well on Craigslist

By Herp News

As it has become more difficult to buy illegal ivory from slaughtered elephants on places like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon.com, traders and buyers in the U.S. have turned to another venue: Craigslist. A new report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) finds that the ivory trade is thriving on Craigslist.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Apr 28

Forest pitvipers: Well camouflaged or very rare?

There’s no question that the pattern and colors of this snake are an effective – a very effective – camouflage.

In more than 20 years of tromping through the Peruvian rainforest, we have seen only two speckled forest pitvipers, Bothriopsis taeniatus, and so well did they blend with the background foliage that we almost missed seeing both of them.

Actually, I consider that low number very surprising. The only snake that we search assiduously for and have found fewer of is the emerald tree boa. Of that taxon we have found only one, and unlike the pitviper that one example was not on our normally utilized preserves.

This pitviper may have a ground color of tan or gray to forest or olive green. The pattern is complex and variable, consisting of flecks, blotches, and bands of darker browns, grays, and greens to a green much brighter than the ground color. This pitviper is a slender snake. Adults are often three to three and a half feet in length, but some may attain a length of a few inches over five feet. This snake may spend as much time on the ground as in the trees.

It is a live-bearing snake that reportedly has a small number of young. The neonates are more precisely marked than the adults.
Continue reading “Forest pitvipers: Well camouflaged or very rare?” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 28

Well camouflaged or very rare?

There’s no question that the pattern and colors of this snake are an effective – a very effective – camouflage.

In more than 20 years of tromping through the Peruvian rainforest, we have seen only two speckled forest pitvipers, Bothriopsis taeniatus, and so well did they blend with the background foliage that we almost missed seeing both of them.

Actually, I consider that low number very surprising. The only snake that we search assiduously for and have found fewer of is the emerald tree boa. Of that taxon we have found only one, and unlike the pitviper that one example was not on our normally utilized preserves.

This pitviper may have a ground color of tan or gray to forest or olive green. The pattern is complex and variable, consisting of flecks, blotches, and bands of darker browns, grays, and greens to a green much brighter than the ground color. This pitviper is a slender snake. Adults are often three to three and a half feet in length, but some may attain a length of a few inches over five feet. This snake may spend as much time on the ground as in the trees.

It is a live-bearing snake that reportedly has a small number of young. The neonates are more precisely marked than the adults.
Continue reading “Well camouflaged or very rare?” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 28

Baby turtle in South Africa saved by little girls

After finding a turtle barely alive, two little girls insisted their parents take the turtle to a “turtle doctor,” and a local aquarium offered help.

From BizNews.com:

The aquarium was overseeing the rehabilitation of baby Loggerhead turtles found washed up along the Cape Coast predominantly in Struisbaai.

The family drove the turtle to the aquarium, where staff were on hand to meet them.

“Rosie was put into the rehabilitation tank along with the 178 other Loggerhead turtles currently in their care and by Sunday morning Two Oceans Aquarium staff confirmed that Rosie was doing well and appearing to be strong and healthy much to the delight of the Campbells,” Lambinon said.

He said of all the 179 Loggerheads found along the Cape coast to date, Rosie was the found the furthest south.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 28

Herp Photo of the Day: Moluccan python

Check out this gorgeous Moluccan python, Morelia clastolepis, in all its shimmering beauty in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user krantz!

Be sure to tell krantz you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 28

Bebo's Blog – Question regarding the Indian Tent Turtle and his basking habit

Guys, I have an Indian Tent Turtle. He just refuses to use his basking platform! When the sunlight hits the turtle tank, he just goes and hides in the shade. Should I be worried? …read more
Read more here: Turtle Times


   Apr 27

The banded kukri snake

The kukri snake, Oligodon arnesis, isn’t very familar to snake lovers from the African and American continents. If you’re among them, you probably wonder where he got his name.

These snakes are called “kukri” because their teeth/fangs look like a Nepali weapon called the kukri.

Despite their weaponized name, these snakes are non-venomous. They are found in many Asian countries including China, Thailand, and Malaysia.

India is home to 12-13 species of kukri snakes amongst which the banded kukri is the most common — and probably why it’s also called the common kukri snake.

The body of the banded kukri is round with a short tail, and the body color is ash-or reddish-brown with black or brown bands. The underside is white and usually three black ‘V’ shapes are present on the head.

These beautiful snakes are found in ant hills, crevices in rocks, tree hollows, old houses, or heaps of stones. It’s a shy-natured snake and generally they don’t bite, but there’s no guarantee as I have been a victim of their painful bite. They feed on reptile eggs, geckos, skinks, and mice. These snakes constrict their prey with 2-3 coils before swallowing it. Size varies from 40-70cms in adults. They are oviparous by nature, laying 5-7 eggs in crevices.

It’s always a joyful experience during the rescue of these snakes as they are usually quiet and I love them, even though I still carry some fear because of that one bad experience.

Photo: Riyaz Khoja …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 27

Poison dart frogs may generate aeroscience innovations

Inspired by poison dart frogs, an engineering professor developed a new way to construct airplane wings that keeps them from becoming icy.

From CNET:

Rykaczewski, an assistant professor of engineering at Arizona State University, was inspired by the bad-ass dart frog to devise a new type of artificial anti-ice “skin” for airplane wings. His research, which was conducted with several colleagues, was included in the latest issue of Advanced Materials Interfaces, published this week.

In the same way that dart frogs hold their venom beneath their outer skin and release it when they’re in trouble, Rykaczewski’s skin has two layers. The bottom layer contains an antifreeze liquid, and the outer layer is made from a superhydrophobic material, which means it is crazy good at repelling water. The outer layer also has a series of pores in it through which the antifreeze can be released.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 27

Herp Photo of the Day: Green Tree Python

This Chondro seems to be saying “Give me 5 more minutes” in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user AJ01!

Be sure to tell AJ01 you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 24

Hump-nosed pit viper: The lance-headed snake

India has 17 species of pit viper, mostly found on trees. The hump-nosed pit viper (Hypnale hypnale) is an exception.

Hump-nosed pit vipers are found in Goa and some parts of Karnataka, India. Like other pit vipers these snakes have hemotoxic venom, but mildly so. These snakes are not fatal to humans as they are very rarely found on rescues and they mostly spend their entire lives in forests.

Hump-nosed pit vipers are nocturnal by nature but sometimes are seen coiled on rocks near streams, low bushes, or under fallen leaves on the ground during day. The head of this snake is pointed and triangular with a tip curved upwards, giving it its lance-headed apperance.

The body color is grey or brown with dark brown bands and yellowish or reddish tail tip. What I like best about the young hump-nosed pit vipers is the way they wriggle their tails to attract lizards, skinks, and geckos.

The maximum size of hump-nosed pit vipers is 55 cm. These beautiful snakes are viviparous by nature and give birth to 4-10 young ones.

It was really an unforgettable experience encountering this beauty in the jungles of Goa while herping at 2 AM. I was so amazed to see this snake that I didn’t leave the place for 1-2 hours. I just sat on a rock and observed the snake until it disappeared in the dried leaves.

Photos: Riyaz Khoja
…read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Saltwater crocodile

Let’s follow the lead of this Saltie in our herp photo of the day and let it all hang out for the weekend, uploaded by kingsnake.com user croc2005!

Be sure to tell croc2005 you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 23

The incredible disappearing fer-de-lance

This is a neonate fer-de-lance.

Everywhere and nowhere best describe where you may find this tropical American lance-headed snake. Certainly the fer-de-lance, Bothrops atrox, is one of the commonly seen venomous taxa on the Project Amazonas Biological Stations and in nearby villages, as well on trails far distant from all activity. Many seen are neonates or juveniles but some are 4 foot long adults.

Depending on weather patterns, this snake may be seen in some numbers on one day and night and then be absent, or at least not seen, for several days.

Such was the case on one rainy trip. Small puddles along busy trails on Madre Selva Biological Preserve had drawn sizable populations of breeding frogs and the presence of the frogs had, in turn, drawn the fer-de-lances. Day or night for two days following the storm, we could check the perimeters of the puddles and find 3 or 4 of these snakes, often with body distended by a belly full of frog. However, by the third night we found that they had mostly dispersed and by the following day we saw none.

Then there was the time when a fer-de-lance wasn’t present when we left the tambo (2-person cabin) to walk to the kitchen, but one was coiled tightly between the stepping stones when we returned a half hour later.

On another occasion, we hadn’t seen a fer-de-lanc in the week we had been at the station. But one evening one person (who later told me he hadn’t believed all of my warnings), was distracted in conversation with his son and almost stepped on one that was crawling slowly across the camp clearing.

We were sure glad it was “almost.”

As I say, these brown on olive-brown snakes are everywhere, and nowhere. If you’re in Amazonas use care – always. Plan ahead when out at night. Carry a flashlight and use it.
Continue reading “The incredible disappearing fer-de-lance” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 23

"Punk rock" frog can form spines on its skin

Scientists recently discovered the first vertebrate that can change its skin texture.

From National Geographic:

On a nighttime walk in 2009, scientist Katherine Krynak spotted a well-camouflaged, marble-size amphibian that was covered in spines. But when she brought it inside, suspecting it was a new species, Krynak found a rather smooth and slimy critter.

“I was so mad at myself! I thought I had brought back the wrong frog,” said Krynak, who was surveying amphibian species in the Reserva Las Gralarias.

She hadn’t. When she tucked a small piece of moss in the frog’s container to make it more comfortable before releasing it back into the forest, the spines slowly reappeared.

“It was shocking. Vertebrates don’t do that,” she said. Inspired by its spiky physique, she dubbed it the “punk rocker” frog.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 23

Herp Photo of the Day: Rio Cauca caecilian

Often called the rubber eel, this Rio Cauca caecilian (Typhlonectes natans) looks quite content in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user chrish!

Be sure to tell chrish you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 22

China may have use for invasive Australian cane toads

Could Australian cane toads be shipped to China for medicinal uses?

From the Daily Mail:

Their venom could be effective in fighting cancer, researchers have discovered, and the potency of Australian cane toad’s venom is stronger than those in China.

This means that potentially millions of toads could be shipped to China, so they could have their venom extracted and turned into medicine, to be sold on the multi-billion dollar traditional medicine market.

Harendra Parekh, from the University of Queensland’s pharmacy department where the research took place, said this discovery could lead to a ‘potentially a very lucrative export market’.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Apr 22

China may have use for invasive Austrlian cane toads

Could Australian cane toads be shipped to China for medicinal uses?

From the Daily Mail:

Their venom could be effective in fighting cancer, researchers have discovered, and the potency of Australian cane toad’s venom is stronger than those in China.

This means that potentially millions of toads could be shipped to China, so they could have their venom extracted and turned into medicine, to be sold on the multi-billion dollar traditional medicine market.

Harendra Parekh, from the University of Queensland’s pharmacy department where the research took place, said this discovery could lead to a ‘potentially a very lucrative export market’.

Read more here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake