Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 22nd, 2010, 5:55 am

This morning I discovered that the Park administration had cleaned out my favorite two-mile roadside drainage ditch in anticipation of the typhoon season. Weeds, soil, rocks, two feet of decaying leaves - an entire biotope, all gone; all that's left is the naked concrete ditch. After I had recovered from the shock, I set out to walk it anyway, and although the lizard and frog populations have certainly left the building, traveling animals using the ditch as an autobahn are still to be found... such as this Ptyas dhumnades yearling.

These snakes are the fastest in Asia, and once they've reached their adult size of seven feet and change, they are insanely hard to catch. As behooves a species built for speed, these guys are nervous as purebreds and hard to control in an outdoor setting, so I bagged the little guy and took him home for another issue of Snakes on a Plate (Part One here). Calming him down under the pot took a full ten minutes, and during the photo session I performed every movement as slowly as molasses lest I trigger his flight instinct. My wife was sitting at the table reading a newspaper, and made the mistake to turn a page. That motion caused the snake to shoot off the table like a rocket, and only after another ten-minute session under the pot I could continue my slow-mo shooting.

I sure wonder what he's going to tell his buddies after I've set him free tomorrow morning....

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Viridovipera
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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Viridovipera » July 22nd, 2010, 8:33 am

Awesome as usual! That tiny preocular scale is so cool. Are these snakes common in Taiwan? I imagine Pytas mucosus is pretty common, but what about other Pytas species?

-Alex

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 22nd, 2010, 5:22 pm

Ptyas dhumnades is common as dirt in the North (albeit hard to catch!), while Ptyas mucosa is more common in the South. Ptyas korros can be found all around the island, but is quite rare.

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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Paul White » July 22nd, 2010, 10:10 pm

Pytas are some neat snakes; I've only seen one or two captives in person but *wow*. I'd love to see some wild ones (particularly big adults!).
Thanks for the photos

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 23rd, 2010, 12:16 am

I posted two or three topics with large, wild adults before The Crash. I'll see if I can find the pix again.

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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by TNWJackson » July 23rd, 2010, 3:24 am

Ptyas must be one of my favourite genera of colubrids. Messing with P. carinatus is about as exhilarating as "playing" with snakes can get (as long as you don't object to having your face ripped off). They are certainly some of the top athletes of the snake world, but fastest snake in Asia? That's a big call :lol:.

Nice photos BTW.

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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 23rd, 2010, 10:32 pm

TNWJackson wrote: They are certainly some of the top athletes of the snake world, but fastest snake in Asia? That's a big call :lol:.
Alright, I bite: what contenders do we have? I stick to my statement because that's what I've been told by a plethora of Taiwanese and Chinese herpetologists. But I'm willing to learn. And Australian snakes do not count.

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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by TNWJackson » July 24th, 2010, 3:42 am

Haha, I would say there are a lot of contenders, but I haven't got any actual measurements of speed to compare, just stories of being burnt by various colubrids in Asia. Certainly Dendrelaphis sp. would be up there and we can't forget Psammophis sp. if going a little further West in Asia. In terms of sheer speed (if they don't have to be on the ground!) it would be hard to overlook Chrysopelea though, particularly when they're gliding or jumping. I was once burnt by a wild C. paradisi in the carpark of Singapore Zoo, it went up a tree from the ground and just when I thought I had it, it launched from head height two metres across a gap into a thicket of shrubs and then disappeared. I remember the gleeful laughter of my companion as I stood there with my jaw on the floor.

Anyway I think there are a lot of fast snakes in Asia ;), I think sometimes the fastest snake is the snake nearest to the edge of the road! I have never had an opportunity to play with P. dhumnades but the Ptyas sp. I have messed me have impressed me as much as any other snakes in terms of their athleticism..I think it's a very cool genus!

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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 24th, 2010, 5:29 pm

Interesting, thanks for sharing! I hope to broaden my horizon in this regard when I relocate to Sarawak next year. AFAIK, all the species you mentioned here are present there, too.

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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by TNWJackson » July 25th, 2010, 12:55 am

All of them but the Psammophis would yeah. That should be awesome, from all your posts it looks like you've had a lot of fun herping in Taiwan but I suspect Sarawak is going to blow your mind....I'm green with envy!

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Re: Snakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnades

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » July 25th, 2010, 4:24 pm

TNWJackson wrote:I suspect Sarawak is going to blow your mind
That's what I'm hoping for :-) In preparation for the move, I'll create a website on the snakes of Borneo next winter. 160+ species is a formidable number, and I hope to see them all during the (minimum) seven years I'll be there...

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