In the Gorge with Kloof Conservancy – The Vine Snake

2018-12-11 06:02


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AS we approach the very hot and humid summer days, the chances of coming across a snake are significantly increased. One of the more beautiful but also dangerous snakes is the Vine Snake, which is also sometimes called the Twig or Stick snake because it looks like a stick and is exceptionally well camouflaged.

It is a slender snake with a long, pointed head which is greenish and has a distinct white and dark strip running from the tip of the head and tapering off at the end of the head region. It has a keyhole shaped pupil. The length of the body is blotchy. The tongue is red and black. Each snake has its own unique and identifiable markings, It is a very graceful, swift moving snake, which although is timid and retiring, will inflate its head when disturbed or threatened, displaying bright orange skin between the scales. It is largely arboreal; found in bushes and trees where it can camouflage. Residents should take care when picking up sticks on the ground as it can lie dead still.

The snake actively hunts during the day by approaching prey in short spurts before lunging forward and seizing the prey firmly in its jaws whilst injecting venom. It feeds on lizards (including chameleons), frogs and, occasionally, birds and other snakes.

No antivenom is available for this snake. The venom is hemotoxic, causing disturbance to blood-clotting and, like the Boomslang, it is a back-fanged species. Luckily it is quite a docile snake and not prone to bite, but nevertheless extreme caution should be exercised. Deaths from its bite are exceptionally rare. -Supplied.


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