This Month (and a Few Months Back) in Snakes

Ever since I showed up here and mentioned that I’d had professional experience catching and handling snakes, the previous designated snake-catchers gladly handed over their duties and extendable grabber-claws. Little did I know just how much I was getting in to.

It’s not that there are a lot of snakes around here–I mean, there are, but besides that we’re also on a large campus backed up right against the woods with many people walking around, some of whom are new to the area and (despite my strongest and reiterated warnings) sometimes walk around at night in sandals. What I’m saying is that snake sightings are frequent and are something I take seriously.

Snakes. Lots of them. My point.

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We’ve had several Green Parrot Snakes around the grounds and sanctuary of varying sizes, but all very actively hunting for small lizards and frogs. With plenty of sunny spots to bask and little pools of water to breed, the snakes are all to happy to prowl around human dwellings. One even entertained a group by devouring a frog right out in the open during lunch.

One later encounter was even more entertaining, at least by my point of view. One afternoon, a 3-foot parrot snake dropped from the ceiling into one of the dormitories, landed on a ceiling fan, and whipped around several times before being flung across the room in front of several volunteers. The screaming summoned me, and I found all of them perched on beds and counters trying to locate the snake which I found in one of their beds.

Moving on.

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Oh ho, this right here? Tree Boa. Something I’ve only rarely seen, and never up close like this. She was only about a meter off the ground in a small palm, probably looking for bird nests. A close examination of the tail found no spurs, small vestigial limb-claws that only male boas have. Shy and confused, she was gone by morning, not surprising after a lengthy photo shoot.

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Not pictured: terciopelo #12 and #13, one of which was found while I was away and had to remotely advise on handling. Also, a good-sized cat-eyed snake found in the capuchin enclosure that had them barking in alarm. I started having flashbacks to the Moneyverse.

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Speaking of which, I finally got an ID on this guy found a while back, and it proved cool enough to include retroactively. It’s a young Burrowing Python, a rare and illusive snake that is the only species in its Family. While it is a true constrictor, evolutionary it’s closer to the Old-World Pythons that American Boas. This little one didn’t even try to bite, but would not hold still.

This may be the last post for a while, since I plan to go on hiatus during rainy season. Internet just isn’t reliable during storms. Wish me luck staying dry.

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