ICCS '05: Mangrove pit viper (Story 2)
Fine, I was going to have some other corny title. But thanks to a certain someone who asked why I always have to have smart-pants corny titles for my blog entries...it's now just a normal title...Oh wells...let's try this for a change. Nyyeehh....
So anyway, to continue from the last Styro-miro
story, here is another...
....on the MANGROVE...PIT...VIPER...OoooOOOOoooooo.....
We were "recce-ing" the Lim Chu Kang mangrove area while waiting for the ICCS
participants to arrive, taking photos of interesting mangrove critters, I stumbled upon this nice tree. Yes, A TREE.
As I stepped closer to examine it, there was something black coiled in a crevice between the branches of the tree.
OOOOHH MYYY GAAWWDD!!!! IT'S...A...SNAKE!!! And Cheng Kee and Danwei came hopping over...
"What snake is it ah?"
"I don't know..."
What I did next was probably not the smartest thing to do... especially when fronted with a snake.
I went for a closer shot....MAYBE CAN ASK SOMEONE TO ID (identify) IT LATER, I thought....PLUS! It's the FIRST mangrove snake I've ever seen! SO CLOSE! So ready for the (photo) taking! AND THEN...
And even closer shot...(Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)
ARGHHH...... NOT SMART NOT SMART! But luckily... nothing happened! So everyone, please do NOT do this. I stood there taking MACRO shots of the pit viper... and Danwei had to pry me away from it...
Later on... I showed the photos to Ria and she said... YES it's a MANGROVE PIT VIPER... VENOMOUS... LONG FANGS... BUT USUALLY VERY SMALL ABOUT *brings up her index finger* THAT THICK ONLY.
I said... Oh, it was about *brings up TWO of my fingers* THAT THICK.
Anyway, I've learnt some interesting things from Ria about this mangrove pit viper. It's has pitted heat sensors alongside it's head (hence the name PIT VIPER) and it acutally has a prehensile tail which it uses to coil itself around branches. It also uses its tail to anchor itself to some place so that it will be able to RECOIL itself after striking its prey or opponent. Besides that, the distinctive feature of this particular snake is that it has a large (compared to its body size) triangular head (with pits along side its nostrils). Also, like most snakes, it can dislodge its jaws and swallow preys several times its size! AMAZING!
This is what the Guide to Mangroves in Singapore
book says about the mangrove or shore pit viper:Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus
Size: up to about 100 cm
The venomous Shore pit-viper lives in trees and shrubs.
It has a nasty temperament, but tends to be secretive. It is nocturnal and feeds largely on birds and lizards.
I told her that I saw it actually move backwards a bit and she said... OOH MEANS THAT IT WAS ABOUT TO STRIKE... I thought to myself, "Not smart...not smart... Noooottt smaarttt at allllll!!!!"