It is currently September 23rd, 2017, 12:05 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 9th, 2012, 10:31 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
...pro scientiam mori. For every live snake we find, we find 1.5 dead ones, so I log the DORs as well, just to flesh out the map. Here's a morbid collection of a few interesting, if somewhat less than lively serpents we found over the past ten months. All these are species I have yet to see alive.

Boiga sp. (ID, anyone?)
Image

Image

Image

Red-tailed Racer (Gonyosoma oxycephalum). This is one we find DOR all the time, and very much at the top of our list...few things are cooler than an eight-foot green snake! (this one was only about five feet, I think)
Image

Image

Purple Kukri Snake (Oligodon purpurascens). Biggest kukri species I've ever seen.
Image

Image

Image

Malaysian Blue Coral Snake (Calliophis bivirgatus)
Image

Image


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 9th, 2012, 10:48 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am
Posts: 240
The Boiga looks like a juvenile B. drapiezii to me.

Beware what you wish for as far as wanting to find really big kukri snakes is concerned, unless you enjoy the idea of having your hand amptated at the wrist ;)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 10th, 2012, 1:09 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:17 am
Posts: 136
Hi Hans,

Yep, these snakes are even cool when they're dead. Your boiga is Boiga cynodon, a.k.a. the dog toothed cat snake. Here are some pictures of a juvenile found by some dude in Singapore: http://sgmacro.blogspot.sg/2012/02/no-arthropod-is-too-big-to-get-eaten.html


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 10th, 2012, 1:34 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 12:26 pm
Posts: 561
Nice finds, Hans, even if they are DORs. The Malaysian Blue Coral was quite drab when compared to the two DORs that I have seen at Fraser's Hill. I wonder if those from Borneo are not as intensely coloured as those on the peninsula?

Regards,
David


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 10th, 2012, 2:23 am 

Joined: March 10th, 2012, 10:28 pm
Posts: 10
Actually, that Boiga is a B. cynodon. The juveniles look like that - quite different from the adults - across much of their range (at least the Malay peninsula, Borneo, and Bali). They don't seem to attain the warmer, salmon-tan color, with black and yellowish crossbands, until they reach a fairly large size. Inbetween the juvenile coloration (seen here) and the warm, tan color of the large adults, they can have a greyish, almost olive-tinted ground color (at least Bornean specimens).

Cheers,
Bjorn


- Ooops, David -- I now see you beat me to it. Sorry for my hasty response.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 10th, 2012, 6:43 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am
Posts: 240
Sorry, you guys are probably right about it being B. cynodon. Juvie B. drapiezi also look quite distinct from their parents, but I was typing from memory there...


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 10th, 2012, 8:36 am 
User avatar

Joined: March 1st, 2011, 10:26 am
Posts: 379
Location: NorCal
WW** wrote:
Beware what you wish for as far as wanting to find really big kukri snakes is concerned, unless you enjoy the idea of having your hand amptated at the wrist ;)


This comment intrigues me. I've always been curious about kukri snakes, what are they like? What do they eat?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 10th, 2012, 11:49 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am
Posts: 240
gila-91 wrote:
WW** wrote:
Beware what you wish for as far as wanting to find really big kukri snakes is concerned, unless you enjoy the idea of having your hand amptated at the wrist ;)


This comment intrigues me. I've always been curious about kukri snakes, what are they like? What do they eat?


They have long, blade-like posterior maxillary teeth with which they can inflict surprisingly deep slashing wounds which can bleed for hours (presumably some form of venom action). "Kukri" is the kind of knife used by the Nepalese gurkhas, which the posterior maxillary teeth resemble. Obviously they cannot really amputate a hand, but I would hate to have a 3-footer give me a good chew. I remember showing someone at a snake farm in Thailand a moderate-sized specimen - this guy used to handle monocled cobras like bread sticks, but took a step back from the Oligodon exclaiming that it was a "very dangerous snake".

They are reminiscent of stiletto snakes (Atractaspis) in that they cannot be held safely behind the head - they manage to slip those long teeth out sideways and slash the fingers holding them. Food consists of eggs (reptiles as well as others), and various small vertebrates.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 11th, 2012, 8:10 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks, all! If that's a B. cynodon, I have previously seen it in alive the field...only eight feet longer :-)

As to the toothy kukris: I'm familiar with two smaller species from Taiwan (O. formosanus and O. ornatus) and know what messy wounds their curved teeth and their anti-coagulant saliva can inflict. They're used for slashing eggs, and are similarly applied in defense. Shortly after I'd met the first python here in Sarawak, I bought a pair of sturdy work gloves, just to deal with the local boids....but now I realize they might come in handy with the Oligodons as well.

David, I've heard that the Blue Corals in Sabah are of a very intense blue - sky blue, in fact.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 11th, 2012, 8:41 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Posts: 3420
Location: Illinois
Aren't those blue corals known for having a venom gland nearly half the length of their body? If so I can't imagine the venom yield they produce.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 11th, 2012, 8:45 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Corals in general have very long venom glands, I believe.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 13th, 2012, 2:32 am 

Joined: March 10th, 2012, 10:28 pm
Posts: 10
Hans, regarding your notion, "I've heard that the Blue Corals in Sabah are of a very intense blue - sky blue, in fact." -- Aren't you mixing it up with specimens from West Malaysia (and Singapore, Southern Thailand)? The subspecies occuring there can indeed be a bright sky blue on the lower sides but I've never heard of, nor seen (myself, or photos of), any C. bivirgata in Sabah that looked much different from your roadkill. The bornean ssp. tetrataenia is, as far as I can tell, just black with the four thin, white stripes, and shows virtually no iridescence. But I must admit that my hands-on (or should I more aptly say "hands-off"?) experience with them is restricted to one site in Sabah only - Poring, in Kinabalu Park, where they are fairly common. Be very careful with them, as they can be extremely agile when aroused/restrained.

As for Wolfgang's kukri snake experience, I can only nod and agree. One adult O. purpurascens sliced my nice leather gloves to a state that they were un-suited for further use as snake gloves! I can assure you that even small juvenile Oligodon can cause a lot of pain and agony.

Cheers,
Bjorn


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 13th, 2012, 10:58 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 9:48 pm
Posts: 277
Agreed that the Boiga is a juvenile B. cynodon - I have slides of baby albinos somewhere.

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Corals in general have very long venom glands, I believe.


The long-glanded condition is unique (amongst coral snakes) to Calliophis intestinalis and Calliophis bivirgata (i.e. the species that used to be classified as Maticora), as far as I am aware.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 19th, 2012, 4:44 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Lardman wrote:
Hans, regarding your notion, "I've heard that the Blue Corals in Sabah are of a very intense blue - sky blue, in fact." -- Aren't you mixing it up with specimens from West Malaysia (and Singapore, Southern Thailand)? The subspecies occuring there can indeed be a bright sky blue on the lower sides but I've never heard of, nor seen (myself, or photos of), any C. bivirgata in Sabah that looked much different from your roadkill.

Ch'ien Lee told me he had once encountered just such a critter on the way up Mt. Kinabalu.

Quote:
I can assure you that even small juvenile Oligodon can cause a lot of pain and agony.

My younger son Karl used to love messing with our O. formosanus babies when he was about 8, 9 years old. He'd always get a kick out of how the blood would keep flowing from the wounds the snakes inflicted on his hands.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 19th, 2012, 3:23 pm 
User avatar

Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
Posts: 470
I would have cried if I were to see all those taxa. :(

Have you found any Gonyosoma oxycephalum in life? The cave varieties up in the upper Sabah and Kinabatangan River regions are freakin awesome. The adaptations of those guys in the sinkholes is such a great example of speciation and evolution. It would be amazing to see if other cave taxa live in those regions like Orthriophis and Oreocryptophis porphyraceus. Honestly I'd rather see a coral DOR, since trying to even tong one is like a dance with the devil.

Always appreciate your work Hans,

Justin


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 19th, 2012, 8:47 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thank you, Justin. Never seen a live G. oxycephalum. That's another of my nemesis snakes. Can't count the DORs I've found so far...


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...
PostPosted: June 29th, 2012, 8:42 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Update: found a large (80 cm), live O. purpurascens tonight. Managed to bag and bring it home without any damage to limb or glove. Pix later.

Now, what about that rumored anticoagulant seemingly present in the saliva of O. formosanus? Do all kukris have that interesting feature, which would explain why the bites/slashes are so messy?


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 22 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: