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 Post subject: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo Bits!
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 5:41 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Here's a whole bunch of stuff I've run into in the past three weeks.

Oriental Vine Snake, Ahaetulla prasina. Common, but always a welcome sight.
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Currently unidentified mud snake. I first thought it to be Enhydris chinensis, but when I showed it to Indraneil Das, he got all excited for some reason. Now he's trying to find out what it actually is. Maybe a new species, or at least something nobody has seen in a 150 years....not a uncommon event in Borneo. The frog researchers at Prof. Das's herp department never come back from their field trips without bagloads of unidentified amphibians, and his desk is littered with pickled herps awaiting description.
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Dendrelaphis haasi. This was just a throwaway shot I took one lazy afternoon in the bush just because I liked the setting. I didn't even try to catch the snake because little Bronzebacks are so common here. But as soon as I had put the photo up here in a previous post, a kind soul pointed out to me that this might be the first photographic documentation of this species in Borneo, a fact Gernot Vogel later corroborated.
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Phallus indusiatus, aka bamboo fungus, bamboo pith, long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn or veiled lady. What you don't see on the photo are the various insects crawling in and out of the veil and under the brown top, causing the entire mushroom to move and wiggle constantly.
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Juvenile Lycodon effraensis, aka Brown Wolfsnake. Brown? Yes, they become entirely brownish-black as adults. Damn shame, really.
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Yungle Yail
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(Photo: Marcus Kloft)

Malayan Spotted Keelback, Xenochrophis maculata.
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Broken palm tree, oozing sap.
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(Photo: Marcus Kloft)

Another Bronzeback, no ID(ea, really. Too many of the buggers, and they all look pretty much the same to the untrained eye. Which one is it?). But what I do know is that these bastards have one of the worst bites in all of snakedom. Not only do they have long, sharp teeth forged for lizard hunting, they also don't bother with warning nips or fakes. Every single hit draws blood, even with dinky ones like these.
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Red-tailed Racer, Gonysoma oxycephalus. What a beautiful, beautiful creature. The only snake I actually keep as a pet.
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Dawn over Borneo. This is what the Chinese call "Cloud Ocean". (Not in the mood for sappy landscapes? Scroll on, dear friend, there's one more snake coming your way :-) )

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(Photo: Marcus Kloft)

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Red-bellied Keelback, Rhabdophis conspicillatus
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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 6:34 am 
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Joined: November 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am
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Location: London, United Kingdom
HANS! Seriously man your posts are just so insanely good. I am absolutely blown away by how carefree you seem about possibly finding an unidentified species and by the variety of what you found. Borneo is simply breathtaking. I live in Trang Province, Thailand, so maybe I could make it down there in the next year :)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 3:02 pm 
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Joined: January 8th, 2011, 5:51 am
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Awesome post Hans! Love the shots as well.

New species ehh? Just take some DNA samples and name it yourself! Enhydris hansensis


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 4:22 pm 
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Joined: May 11th, 2012, 4:50 pm
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Awesome pics Hans, thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 7:42 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Thank you for your continued support, everyone :-)

Quote:
New species ehh? Just take some DNA samples and name it yourself! Enhydris hansensis

Now that would be seriously bad form, wouldn't it? :-) The whole new species thing here in Borneo is much more real than I had ever anticipated. In fact, I'm about to write a short article about it for the FHF blog, just to clear my mind and vent my confusion...


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 9:49 pm 
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Joined: October 1st, 2012, 12:57 am
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Location: Singapore
Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Here's a whole bunch of stuff I've run into in the past three weeks.

Oriental Vine Snake, Ahaetulla prasina. Common, but always a welcome sight.
Image

Another Bronzeback, no ID(ea, really. Too many of the buggers, and they all look pretty much the same to the untrained eye. Which one is it?). But what I do know is that these bastards have one of the worst bites in all of snakedom. Not only do they have long, sharp teeth forged for lizard hunting, they also don't bother with warning nips or fakes. Every single hit draws blood, even with dinky ones like these.
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I'm believe that Vine Snake is a Big-eye Green Whip Snake/Malayan Whip Snake (Ahaetulla mycterizans) instead of Oriental. Was it found near a stream in the forest?

The bronzeback should be a Striped Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis caudolineatus).


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2012, 11:06 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
Posts: 523
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
I'm a huge fan of the bronzebacks. If you ever come across D. formosus or D. cyanochloris please post lots of pictures!

That checkered keelback is pretty cool too, as are the other animals of course :)

Ian


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 6:09 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 3:39 pm
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Location: Concord TWP, Ohio
Awesome post as usual Hans! You do have a knack for making one green with envy! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 6:19 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 1:32 pm
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Location: Houston, TX
Very cool.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 1:43 pm 
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Nice! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 3rd, 2012, 9:51 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Thanks very much for the positive reactions! :-)

Quote:
I'm believe that Vine Snake is a Big-eye Green Whip Snake/Malayan Whip Snake (Ahaetulla mycterizans) instead of Oriental.

A. mycterizans isn't know from Borneo. Not that this means anything :-)

Quote:
The bronzeback should be a Striped Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis caudolineatus).
)
Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 1:34 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:17 am
Posts: 136
Exactly what schmike said about the ids

Some points:

Oriental whip vs. big eye: This snake was a smaller eye RELATIVE to the size of its own head than the big eyed whip snake. The eye of the oriental whip-snake is more whitish-brown, whereas that of our big-eyed beast is yellow. The big eyed whip snake tends to be more aggresive than the other species when handled, but yea whatever


The brozebacks - pretty much my favorite snakes

Painted bronzeback: Only really confusable with haas' bronzeback. This plain coloured snake gets pretty large. Its colours are uninteresting brown and white, with a rather distinct black marking around the eye. Comparing the eye of painted with haas' helps me tell the difference between the two. The haas's has a much paler 'iris', and the black marking that is so apparant on the painted is much less pronounced on haas'

Haas' bronzeback: see above

Striped bronzeback: BIG, RED head (thats pretty much enough). Don't get confused about that whole stripe thing, although it should be noted that striped has a stripe that runs down the entire length of its body and tail. Most apparant feature of the stripe is the very strongly-contrasting white colour to the reddish-brown body of the snake. But really, red head is enough to say striped bronzeback.

Red-necked bronzeback (kopsteins): One of the most common snakes in Singapore's forests in contrary to many people's beliefs. This animal can be distinguished by its slender body, thin 'neck' and distinct small head with bulging eyes. They have a brown/copper plated head, a black line passing through the eyes, and a yellowish underside. They are extremely nervous and aggresive snakes that will quickly flatten their necks to expose a red scale pattern that runs into a blue scale pattern as you move down the 'neck'.

Elegant bronzeback: Easy to confuse with red-necked bronzeback, except it is rarer. Note that this snake has a green underside rather than yellow. The 'iris' is also green or blueish in colour rather than brown!

Blue-Bronzeback: The rarest of emm all. This snake has a thick black line passing through the eyes, and a a rather vibrant yellow underside (more so than kopsteins/red-necked bronzeback). The flattening of the neck gives the snake a beautiful blue colouration that gives its identity away.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 7:07 pm 
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Oh boy. I'm gonna print that out and carry it in my wallet!

Thanks very much, David!!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 8:14 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:17 am
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Haha, no worries hans. One final thing that helps you identify a striped bronzeback is the large size of its head - almost like a rat snake!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 4th, 2012, 8:35 pm 
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Yeah, I noticed that. More room for all those nasty teeth...


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 13th, 2012, 5:31 pm 
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Joined: November 11th, 2012, 10:32 pm
Posts: 19
Location: San Mateo County, CA
I almost have nothing to say. Your camera and your ability to manipulate it and your subjects - I am quite envious of. This is why I do not invest in camera equipment... I can't compete. Thanks for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 13th, 2012, 6:50 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Thank you very much, inuk! I'd suggest you do invest in camera gear - I used to think like you a few years ago. But I bought an SDLR anyway and learned a few things since: it's never the camera, it's the photographer, and it's not so much about comprehensive knowledge about lighting, aperture and shutter speed (which is really simple anyway, even for a decidedly non-tech person like me), but it's creativity and patience, in particular the latter. If you have patience, you can create world-class photos with a cheap camera. If you're impatient - like me - you'll always end up with half-assed stuff....like most of the above. There is so much wrong with the majority of those photos, I could kick myself for not having spent the extra time with my subjects that would have made those shots very good instead of just okayish.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 14th, 2012, 2:15 pm 
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Joined: November 11th, 2012, 10:32 pm
Posts: 19
Location: San Mateo County, CA
You are welcome, that's cool stuff from an area I'd love to herp and the details are great. Don't be a typical photographer and get critical about your great photos. That's like a 5'6" 145# woman complaining about her thighs. Makes me roll my eyes. :lol:

I do have a point and shoot Canon that I took under water photos with and might bring it out again sometime... but it is more cumbersome and slower on the gratification than my phone!

One day I will probably get into photography but the main factor is its not in my budget. I like quality toys and aside from lacking the expendable monetary budget, I'm already full of toys and low on time to enjoy what I already have. :)

edit: so I will continue to enjoy the work you and others put into sharing great photos. Thanks and keep it up!!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 14th, 2012, 7:24 pm 
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inuk wrote:
Don't be a typical photographer and get critical about your great photos.

Why be good if you could be better? :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 14th, 2012, 7:37 pm 
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Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
inuk wrote:
Don't be a typical photographer and get critical about your great photos.

Why be good if you could be better? :-)

Totally agree with you on this. If you don't get critical with your own works, you will never improve. It's always good to have high expectations in your own works. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 16th, 2012, 4:44 pm 
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Schmike wrote:
Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
inuk wrote:
Don't be a typical photographer and get critical about your great photos.

Why be good if you could be better? :-)

Totally agree with you on this. If you don't get critical with your own works, you will never improve. It's always good to have high expectations in your own works. ;)


Then if you get critical, keep it to yourself. I roll my eyes at people with great photographs to share that say "I did this wrong and that isn't right..." It often causes me to not pay attention to their stuff because it is dense to be so critical. If you can't appreciate that something is good and you need to critique everything you do, then you aren't living life BALANCED.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 16th, 2012, 5:37 pm 
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It all depends the kind of platform the pictures are shared on and one's expectations of oneself. I definitely won't be techinical of my works on forums like these but if it's meant for photography, I see nothing wrong with that. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 16th, 2012, 10:45 pm 
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Joined: June 16th, 2010, 12:26 pm
Posts: 561
Hans,

This was yet another wonderful post of yours. You are finding so many exciting snakes. I really liked the colours of the Malayan Spotted Keelback ... very nice. I hope that your Enhydris turns out to be new. How exciting to find something that was unknown!

It was great to see the habitat shots as well. Sarawak has many beautiful places.

Regards,
David


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo B
PostPosted: November 17th, 2012, 12:01 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Thanks very much again, everyone!

moloch wrote:
I hope that your Enhydris turns out to be new.

Well, it kinda did...see here :-)


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