Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Four Whips In A Day!

During a late afternoon on 8 September 2007, Chan Kwok Wai found not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Oriental Whip Snakes (Ahaetulla prasina)!!!! One of the snakes was sighted at eye level, while the rest were encountered at the tree canopies. The green colour and long body length of this species, are perhaps adaptations for life at the canopy, since the former provides the snake with a good camouflage against aerial predators and the latter allows the snake to move from canopy to canopy.

From what I know, the Oriental Whip Snake is a popular pet. By disclosing the microhabitat of this snake, I fear that it will become easy target for potential poachers. Thus I would like to urge people to refrain from collecting this snake. I hope that information on the habit of this snake will instead allow us to understand its needs and eventually lead to better management of our few remaining forests.

More on this species here.

Cobra In Mangroves

Yang Shufen found this Equatorial Spitting Cobra (Black Spitting Cobra; Naja Sumatrana) near a mangrove at the southwest of Singapore Island on 13 September 2007. The following photographs were contributed by her.

Sivasothi encountered the same species (pictured below) in the mangroves of Sungei Mandai on 23 December 2005.

In Singapore, this species is frequently sighted in urban areas, but seems to be common in mangroves during low tides as well.

Pythons Skinned And Left To Die

There is an recent article in The Daily Mail that reported on the increasing use of snake skin in the fashion industry.

This article is archived in Wild Singapore, which also provides links to articles that reported on the smuggling of snake skins.

I would like to thank Charlene Yeong and Gloria Seow for the alert.

More Records Of House Wolf Snake

Lai Chien-Houng opened the door and a House Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus) fell onto the floor. This snake is THAT common (relative to other species) in buildings, probably because their food, geckos, are also abundant in this type of habitat. However, this species is still rarely encountered by people because of their secretive nature. Fortunately to us, it is neither venomous nor dangerous. This encounter, occurred in the TMSI (Tropical Marine Science Institute) compound at St. John's Island on 24 September 2007, made our day. We took some photographs and released it soon after that. The following photographs were taken by Lim Swee Cheng.

Photographs from top to bottom: A small individual (probably a few weeks old) in my hand; Right side of head; Dorsal side of head.

There were more photographic records of this snake in the past year, most of which occurred in buildings. I am glad to know that the harmless snakes were either left alone or released after cautious handling, instead of killed at first sight.

Matt Tench found this snake (pictured above), with an estimated body length of 8 inches, in the bathroom of Bungalow 53 at St. John's Island on 22 April 2007. He got it onto a long handled dustpan and set it free in the wild.

Peter Karlsson found this snake (pictured above), with an estimated body length of 40 cm, at Serangoon Gardens on 10 March 2007. The snake was under some rooftiles that were placed on the floor. He left the snake alone.

This snake (pictured above) was photographed by Ron Yeo at Pulau Hantu on 4 March 2007.

A friend of Gail Q, who lives near Kent Ridge Bus Terminal, found this snake (pictured above) at the doorsteps of his house on 18 October 2006 at about 6pm. He kept the snake in a pail because he wanted to know its identification (after consulting me) before releasing it.

A cleaner found this snake (pictured above) in the NIE (National Institute of Education) canteen on 1 September 2006. He picked it up with a thong, kept it in a plastic bag and passed it to me. It was released.

More records of this snake here and here.

Fun With Snakes

A fun-filled activity, named 'Fun with Snakes', was organised by the NSS Education Group on 15 September 2007 to raise awareness on snakes, with emphasis on local species, among kids in the age group of 5-9 years old.

Read more about this event in a blog posting contributed by July.