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 Post subject: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snakes
PostPosted: November 24th, 2011, 9:59 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
This is the first of a seven-part series aimed at showing some of Borneo's glory. It's also aimed at finally getting out the door the 200+ photos that I've distilled from the much larger haul my buddy Marcus and I shot over the past couple of weeks. None of these photos come with a story that would warrant a dedicated post, so I'll just chuck them out there, sorted by themes (crocs, primates, anurans etc.) in the hope that someone will get a kick out of them as they are.

Let's start with some snakes.

Dendrelaphis caudolineatus is one of the half-dozen or so Bronzebacks here on the island, and they're also the snakes you tend to see most during the day. The reason is that they're mostly lizard eaters and thus can be found by roadsides where their prey basks. (This behavior has led many of the jungle guides here to believe that Bronzebacks are "friendly" snakes, as they seem to seek human proximity. Clearly, there's much room for improvement in the government's guide training courses.)

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The Bronzeback's nocturnal counterpart, as regards visibility, is Tropidolaemus wagleri. Even with all my whining about the difficulties in finding snakes here, I'm already sick of these guys - at least the juvenile versions, which is all we ever get to see. Why can't we ever find a nice, big, colorful adult?!

One we found whilst roadcruising near the Indonesian border:

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This one sat in a huge Dillenia suffruticosa bush right behind the restaurant at Bako National Park. That particular bush overhangs a pig wallow which at night attracts frogs, and you can find these vipers in that bush almost every evening. (For these macro shots, we removed it from the shrubbery and placed it on a more convenient surface. Photos Marcus Kloft)

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This DOR is Xenopeltis unicolor, the Sunbeam Snake. These guys are so weird that they have their own family, the Xenopeltidae (xenos = strange, peltis = skin or hide) which consists of exactly two species. The iridescence of the scales has to be seen to be believed - a "living hologram", as Indraneil Das calls it. They're not rare, even turn up in farm houses occasionally, but as with everything else here, they're hard to find when alive.

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Another DOR - a Copperhead Racer, Coleognathus flavolineata. We've found two DORs so far, this two-foot juvie was still twitching :-(

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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 25th, 2011, 9:30 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
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Location: Illinois
Hans I wonder what you might find if you took a "rake" and went through the forest litter. That may be how you'll find a live Sunbeam snake. Neat stuff keep it coming.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 25th, 2011, 1:11 pm 
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Joined: June 16th, 2010, 12:26 pm
Posts: 561
Very nice, Hans. I hope that my friends and I can see some of those next March.

Regards,
David


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 25th, 2011, 3:00 pm 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 9:48 pm
Posts: 277
Cool stuff Hans. I really like those wide angle caudolineatus shots, that is a pretty specimen.

Too bad about the DORs, Justin's idea of a "rake" might not be a bad one . I've had some luck digging through the leaf litter that accumulates between buttress roots - it's a good way of finding things like Calamaria and Calliophis, although it's very time consuming for little reward!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 25th, 2011, 3:27 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks, guys! Neat tip about raking between buttress roots....I'll try that next time! As to Calliophis, we were lucky enough to find one crossing a trail a few weeks ago. Pertaining post coming right up...


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 25th, 2011, 4:21 pm 
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Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 9:48 pm
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Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Thanks, guys! Neat tip about raking between buttress roots....I'll try that next time! As to Calliophis, we were lucky enough to find one crossing a trail a few weeks ago. Pertaining post coming right up...


Nice! Can I ask which species or are you going to make me wait?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 25th, 2011, 9:07 pm 

Joined: June 11th, 2010, 7:49 am
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"This one sat in a huge Dillenia suffruticosa bush right behind the restaurant at Bako National Park." I can see it now, the population of Borneo is now gonna triple from the influx of American herpers after this post. Maybe you should have waited till the end of the year to post. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 26th, 2011, 12:02 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Desertwalker, that's an open secret. You ask the guys at the registration counter about snakes, and they'll point you to that very bush.

Mr. Jackson, the coral snake pix are all ready; alas, I'm still lacking narrative inspiration :-) You'll also have to wait for the pictures from this morning, showing a vehicularly autopsied reticular python, the stomach contents - a completely undigested black rat - half-spilled on the asphalt. Never seen anything like it...or smelled!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 27th, 2011, 7:43 am 
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Joined: October 28th, 2010, 4:34 am
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Location: based in UK
Great post. I hope you have luck with the sunbeam snake, I have been lucky enough to see a couple of these guys, once one crossed my path when I was walking through the forest, the second one found me as it came into a guesthouse where we were staying. Great snakes.

Hope you find the inspiration for the Calliophis very soon!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 27th, 2011, 12:05 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:17 am
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I love the first sequence, from "mass of vines" to "snake-like vine" to "snake"!!
Gambar tambahan, sila!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 27th, 2011, 12:14 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:45 am
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Location: One of the boys from Illinois
Cool on many points. Are the Xenopeltis active on rainy nights?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 27th, 2011, 7:59 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks, guys! I'm not sure when the sunbeams are active....why do you ask? Are they known for coming out in the rain?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 10:32 am 
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Joined: November 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am
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Location: London, United Kingdom
Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Thanks, guys! I'm not sure when the sunbeams are active....why do you ask? Are they known for coming out in the rain?


I believe they are active at night, and rarely come above ground (except to cross roads). It is easier to find them while 'flipping'


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - Snak
PostPosted: November 28th, 2011, 11:29 am 
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I've kept two Xenopeltis. They only came out of the mulch they lived in at night to feed. They would snatch a mouse drag him down and not be seen again for weeks. They remind me of a gigantic Carphophis.


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