It is currently July 26th, 2017, 8:45 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 7th, 2010, 9:39 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Apart from the real habu shown in Monday's post, last Saturday night also produced a nice fake one for us. Locally known by the name "false habu", Macropisthodon r. rudis is a highly interesting snake. It mimics the real Taiwan habu (Protobothrops mucrosquamatus) not only through color and patterns, but also by morphing its oval head into a mean-looking triangle when angry or afraid. It's also mildly venomous, i. e. rear-fanged. Not lethal, mind you (although Bryan G. Fry considers M. rudis, the Mainland subspecies, the most dangerous Asian colubrid), but powerful enough to create painful swelling and dizziness.

However, not all of them are to be handled with care; different individuals show distinctive differences in disposition. Some flatten their bodies and spread their head as soon as you get close, and won't let up until you leave again, but others are positively docile and can be safely handled. Of course, it's always best to let other people do the handling, so that's what I opted for when we found this adult specimen last Saturday. It quickly became clear that it was one of the mellower individuals, and my buddy Ah-huo handled and posed it with out a hitch. M. rudis' diet is also quite peculiar: it specializes in toads, as it's one of the few snakes here that have found a way to deal with the anurans' poison glands.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Posing the dragon
Image

Who says herping isn't an Olympic discipline?
Image

Image

Image

Here's a collection of juveniles I photographed last year but haven't shown yet, so I'll take this opportunity to round out the post. I found a very young one Tuesday afternoon (M. r. rudisis cathemeral, i.e. 24/7urnal) and took it home for a later photo session, alas, yesterday morning it lay dead in his tank, for no apparent reason....:-(

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 7th, 2010, 10:42 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 16th, 2010, 12:26 pm
Posts: 561
Excellent, Hans. They certainly do look viper like. Do they inject on a quick strike or do they have to chew for awhile to deliver their venom? I like your approach to handling the dangerous species! I find that to be the safest as well. ;-)


Regards,
David


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 5:59 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 10:36 am
Posts: 90
Location: Craven County, NC
That accually a very beautiful snake! I love the contrast between the dorsum and venter, very intresting. I've noticed all the specialized diet species are all unique in appearance.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 12:11 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:17 pm
Posts: 104
Location: NY
Love those little guys! Thanks for posting :)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 12:29 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 6:25 am
Posts: 101
Location: Orange County, CA
Cool snake :beer: Thanks


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 1:00 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:40 pm
Posts: 339
Awesome post Hans, thanks for sharing the story!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 1:01 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:40 pm
Posts: 339
Awesome post Hans, thanks for sharing the story! I always imagined those snakes to be fatter and larger when I saw pictures in field guides. It was really cool to see them with humans for scale. Thanks Hans!

(sorry for the double post. I guess I hit "back" a bit too late)

-Alex


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 3:40 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
Posts: 2648
Location: Ventura, CA
Always good stuff Hans, but being the etymology buff that you are I'm surprised you didn't enlighten us on the intriguing generic name - Macropisthodon :?: Something about a big tooth or groove therein I'm guessing?


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 4:58 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:17 am
Posts: 351
dear mr twoton, very nice snakes. perhaps you could provide a map and gps coordinates to the nest. i would like to study these animals in my native Germany. i will only require 200 specimens every month. we are brothers after all!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 5:28 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks for the nice words, muchacho(a?)s!

David, this species almost never snaps at humans, and when it does, it's just a little warning nip, not even an attempt to properly bite.

monklet wrote:
Always good stuff Hans, but being the etymology buff that you are I'm surprised you didn't enlighten us on the intriguing generic name - Macropisthodon :?: Something about a big tooth or groove therein I'm guessing?

Sorry about that - here goes (from http://www.snakesoftaiwan.com ):

Macropisthodon; macro means "large", opisthodon means "rear tooth", referring to the large fangs in the rear of the mouth.

rudis is Latin for "rough, crude, unlearned".

The Chinese name 擬龜殼花 (ni3gui1ke3hua1) means "False Taiwan Habu", referring to the sympatric pitviper Protobothrops mucrosquamatus which it appears to mimic.


Warren, can you send me some of that obviously quite excellent Canadian homegrown? :mrgreen:


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 5:49 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:44 pm
Posts: 2648
Location: Ventura, CA
Dang, shoulda gone right too the source, SnakesOfTaiwan.com ;) Thanks Hans, sorry for the touble.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 9:44 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 9th, 2010, 9:57 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Ohio, then Arizona, now South Australia
Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Warren, can you send me some of that obviously quite excellent Canadian homegrown? :mrgreen:


I'll have some of what Warren's having too! :thumb: :lol:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 9:47 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
Posts: 2288
Location: Amarillo, Texas
*shrug* hey, just cause it looks, smells, and has similar affects to....ok, ok, it is.

Hans those are some neat snakes. I wonder how the spreading the jaw thing works? Our pitouphis over here do it too...I don't know how.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 9th, 2010, 12:27 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
I called my local snake specialist and author of many a field guide, and he believes (but is not sure) that the spreading is done by a combination of inflation and movable ribs. How does Pituophis do it?

monklet, no worries, for better educational efficiency I should really link each snake I post here to that site anyway.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: The Curious False Viper
PostPosted: July 9th, 2010, 9:45 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:29 pm
Posts: 2616
Location: I love L.A.
Wow, the juveniles are gorgeous! I would definitely be fooled into thinking it was venomous if I didn't know better.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Exabot [Bot], Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 25 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

Search for:
Jump to: