Royal Tree Snake

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Mark
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Royal Tree Snake

Post by Mark » June 16th, 2019, 7:54 am

For those familiar with Borneo's snakes you may find this interesting:

So I spent quite a few nights at the Syap substation in Kinabulu NP, which has a number of hiking trails mostly at about 900 to 1000m in elevation. Sabah pit vipers are very common here and I found about a dozen, and just one each of a few other species; an elegant bronzeback, common mock viper, and a dark-necked snail-eating snake. The best find came on my last night at about 11pm as I was stunned to spot this Royal Tree Snake (Gonyophis margaritatus), which was one of my dream snakes in Borneo, about 25ft up in a tree. Unfortunately tortuously too high up to get a good look at it (or a decent photo). I hiked back in the following morning and waited from about 8am to 10am before the sun caught it and it started to move, but unfortunately not down the tree as I'd hoped but rather up and quickly out of sight. Anyways, a rare and beautiful snake - and at about 900m in elevation which is quite a bit higher than they're suppose to be found from what I've read..
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Kfen
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by Kfen » June 16th, 2019, 5:05 pm

It may not have been the best view, but congratulations on such a cool find! Thanks for sharing

Mark
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by Mark » June 16th, 2019, 8:48 pm

Thanks! And yes despite not getting a good look at it I feel fortunate to have at least saw it.

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orionmystery
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by orionmystery » June 16th, 2019, 11:16 pm

Still an amazing spot. I am surprised that the snake didn't start its day until 10am???!!! :o

Mark
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by Mark » June 17th, 2019, 6:19 am

Haha slept in I guess.. And thanks :)

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by Kelly Mc » June 17th, 2019, 1:43 pm

I still think its a good shot behaviorally.

Pretty is fine but discreet scope into the life of, is forever.

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orionmystery
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by orionmystery » July 6th, 2019, 8:53 pm

You're the only herper I know who has seen the Top 3 snakes in Borneo: Xenodermus javanicus, Stoliczkia borneensis, Gonyophis margaritatus. Incredible!!! I herped with Shavez, Chun, Ledumin for 6 nights last week. No luck.

Mark
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by Mark » July 7th, 2019, 9:25 am

Thanks :) It's funny though in that I was lucky enough to find those really rare species but many of the relatively far more common species eluded me during my time in Borneo. I'm sure they were there but I just wasn't able to spot them. For example I wouldn't even want to know how many Leaf-nosed pit vipers I probably walked past without seeing haha.

I heard you guys found a Popeia sabahi, which at least in Tawau is a rare snake. Likewise I know Shavez was happy with the Dryocalamus subannulatus, which is apparently a new record for the park. I guess not many of the species you guys had hoped for, but hope you enjoyed being out there at least. Tawau Park, and Lucia Mountain in particular, is a beautiful place :)

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orionmystery
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by orionmystery » July 7th, 2019, 4:57 pm

Ha, but I would rather have luck with rare species than with those relatively common species :D

Yeah, T. borneensis can be quite hard to spot! I have only seen two myself. I have seen a lot more T. malcolmi (seven?).

Yes, we did find a Sabah Pitviper up there. The only species that excited me a little was the Psammodynastes pictus! That's my only snake lifer from that trip. We found ike 5 or 6 of them in one night. We did get a couple of frog lifers up there though: Megophrys edwardinae, Sabahphrynus maculatus.

My main targets were the Xenodermus and Stoliczkia , hehe...but rare snakes don't come out that often! :P. Yes, I love the highland and I will surely come back again. Been the the lowland part a couple of times.

Mark
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by Mark » July 7th, 2019, 9:04 pm

Haha yes definitely hard to target those really rare ones that basically just require a lot of luck. You were at least in the right place though!

P. pictus was one of my lifers in Tawau as well. I think they're in a close run with Xenochrophis trianguligera for being the most common species in the park.

Oh wow, 7 Malcolm's Pit Vipers! I spent 6 long nights hiking the trails in Kinabulu Park (main entrance) specifically looking for a Malcolm's and came up empty. So when I go back to Sabah (and I think my going back is just a question of when) I'll definitely - if you don't mind, hit you up with some questions as to the best places to find one. Or if your around, I'd be happy to team up for a day or two of herping :)

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orionmystery
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by orionmystery » July 8th, 2019, 4:19 pm

Heh, no, we didn't not find a single Xenochrophis trianguligerus!!!

What we found:

day 1: five Psammodynastes pictus

day 2: three Ptyas fusca, two Psammodynastes pictus

day 3: Ptyas fusca, Psammodynastes pictus, Ahaetulla prasina, Dryocalamus subannulatus, Tropidolaemus subannulatus

day 4: 2x Psammodynastes pulverulentus, Megophrys edwardinae

day 5: Trimeresurus sabahi, Sabahphrynus maculatus

day 6: Ahaetulla prasina

We did come across a couple of lizards in our final night on the mountain. Phoxophrys nibrilabris (I think, i'll get the ID confirmed), and Gonocephalus borneens/liogaster (not sure which one, didn't take a close look!).

Malcolm is definitely getting harder to find, no thanks to some f**king poachers I think. Permit, and a guide/ranger is required now for night activity inside HQ.

Yes, just drop me private messages anytime!

Mark
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Re: Royal Tree Snake

Post by Mark » July 8th, 2019, 7:37 pm

Wow, 4 P. Fusca! I didn't see one in all my time there. I'd say that was some good luck ;)

Never saw an X. Trianguligera at night but during the day I saw them several times in the creeks and river near park HQ.

As for potential reptile poachers in Kinabulu NP; if they are there I pray they get caught - and that they find a good tree to string them from.

Ok great, I'll definitely be in touch. Cheers!

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