Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Harmless Vine Snake.
This is Vine snake and it is very long and thin with very pointed head. It is called “Sarpa tol” or “Haran tol” in marathi. The body is uniform parroty-green, often with a thin white or yellow line separating the black scales from the belly scales. The underside is fluorescent green or yellow. When excited it shows the inflated neck and body revealed black and white inter-scale color gave a banded appearance. The scales are very much soft and smooth but not shiny. This is the only snake in India, which have horizontally elliptical eyes and bright golden iris. These, coupled with forward position of the location of the eye, give this snake a very good vision. These eyes are large and give it near stereoscopic vision which would clearly assist it in its hunting techniques. This is a common snake still rarely seen because of their excellent camouflage. It is distributed all over the India except northwest parts and it prefers bushes and small trees. It remains suspended by its long thin tail, the head being held free from the coil.
Vine snakes depends on their shape and color to escape detection. They can move at a fair speed. When provoked they open the mouth very wide and swell the body threateningly. Vine snakes are rear-fanged and generally hold their prey until the mildly toxic venom has killed it. During the breeding season, they often bunch together in a cluster, and can be seen hanging in-groups in branches. Females give birth to young ones and they are tiny replicas of the parents with slightly turned-up nose. Their food is mainly lizards, frogs, mice and small birds. Its superb camouflage enables it to stalk its prey with ease. Once the prey is in striking distance it coils itself and darts towards its prey with lightning speed. The prey is often seized by the neck and killed by suffocation caused by crushing its victims throat with its jaws. Its venom plays a minor role in its hunting but does appear to assist in the killing process. This snake waits until its prey is completely dead before swallowing it.
Though it is common, it is greatly feared, this harmless, beautiful snake is always killed when seen. It is foolishly believed that it will dart at a person’s eyes and peck them out or it will jump on head and break the skull.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.

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