Here’s one of the five sand boas that friends and I have found over the last few days. I really like this picture, but the fun thing about it is that I was caught in the act of capturing it by Kinsey, another scientist here in Greece. You know how excited I get about snakes. Now you can see I fit right in with the other dorky scientists I hang out with.
I went out again to help with a friend’s research (the same friend as before) and we found this Black Racer (Coluber constrictor) sunning itself on a rocky outcropping. It was a beautiful old snake about 4.5 feet in length! After a bit of protestation while it was on the ground, it was mellow as can be in-hand (hence the lax handling in the photo; it’s much more secure to handle a wild-caught snake closer to the head so he doesn’t have quite so much leeway to chew on you). That day we were scouting for potential frog ponds, and though we struck out, any day finding a big snake is a good day.
While at Baboon cliffs (see previous post for silly pictures of me watching the sunset) we found a snake that had been fairly well eaten by a bird. The bird was gone but the snake was still pretty intact (viscera were missing but the head and body scales were actually in good shape) so we decided to bring it home with us to try to identify. Lucky we did, it ended up being a new species for Mpala! This is a boomslang carcass, as near as we can tell. Boomslangs are pretty famously venomous in South and East Africa. While wikipedia says they aren’t well known for causing human death they’re very well respected/feared here as one of the particularly dangerous venomous snakes. I’m going to have to ask around about this apparent discrepancy. Nonetheless this is a pretty cool arboreal snake with a famous name and a serious reputation. Don’t worry, I don’t anticipate running into any poking around in my trees. Apparently they don’t like the ants hanging out in my acacias. Whew!