That was really interesting. Thanks to Brian for clearing it up. So, how about the toxicity of the venom? Will a proper bite put you in hospital, underground, or what?
MJB, did you grow up catching snakes in the countryside? Seeing pics of you handling that thing make the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up!
I don’t know about this particular species but I can comment about other members of the family and it is probably pretty safe to assume that they are similar enough that this information is relevant for this particular species.
Most of the brown tree snakes are poisonous but their venom is not considered by most people to be very toxic. It is always possible to die from any venomous snake bite if your body has an anaphylactic reaction to the venom (or if misdiagnosis occurs and you are incorrectly pumped full of anti-venom). They are relatively quick snakes, and easily excitable so there is a good chance that you would get bitten if you tried handling one without the appropriate experience (which just goes to show that MJB is an experienced snake catcher - Kudos to him!), but as has been stated these particular tree snakes are rear fanged and therefore the chances of being envenomated are pretty low. If you were to be bitten by a brown tree snake and envenomation occured you could probably expect swelling, soreness, maybe body aches, nausea and at the most sweating.
Most people though would probably only be in a bit of pain, much like a big bee sting. I have been present when one of my friends was bitten by a member of the Boiga family and these were the symptoms that this person experienced over a period of a few hours. The specimen involved was about the size of the one in MJB’s pictures.
I found an interesting article that suggests that some rear fanged snakes could be more poisonous than we all think, but I don’t know if this is cause for too much concern.
This is exactly why it’s best to err on the side of caution with snake ID’s. You should of course never handle a snake even if you think that you know what it is, unless of course you know what you are doing. It is clear from the photos above that MJB knows what he is doing just by the way that he is handling the snake in the picture, and it’s probably best to think the snake is dangerous when it’s not, rather than the other way around.
It’s not as hard as it looks, I’ve just been doing it since I was young. I wrote about this somewhere in the thread, but I’ll give you the shortened version. I used to help clear construction sites of snakes, got paid under the table for it, and then sold the Rattlesnakes (among many others) to the fire department for 5 bucks. I’ve never used anything to catch them other than a stick or broom. I caught my first one (gopher snake)at age nine.
I also had a large Boa Contsrictor (raised from a baby) and have been involved with various herp clubs back in the states. But that was all a long time ago.
Now I’m just the guy who catches them and can’t figure out what they are… :homer:
Yesterday I went for a walk in Sanxia’s Manyueyan forest park.
We actually just passed the gate, few minutes only. As I was taking pictures my went a little ahead and when I joined her she came running to me and almost ‘wet’ her pants … snake … snake … maybe we’d better go home she yelled at me. But tough guy here wouldn’t go home for a snake.
Well … I went a little further for a look and since I bought my digital camera I was armed to put it in the box for eternity …
I was thinking that I finally had THE snake to take picture of but, bummer, this one is not poisonous I was told later by the park guards whom I showed the pics to … :s I guess this one was somewhere between 60-80 cm
Anyways, here they are …
The last pic is taken at the park entrance and shows another green snake with a triangle bigger had and red’ish color hue at the tail … that’s the dangerous one, not the one I thought would be a ‘bamboo’ snake.
Nice shots of the green snake. I’ve seen a few of those around and thought they were green bamboo snakes–until I met one. Once I almost stepped on a real bamboo snake as it was crossing my path in Tiger Head mountain park in Taoyuan. It curled up in a strike position aggressively in a flash. Luckily I practically threw myself over backwards to avoid it. I could tell this was no ordinary garter snake like from back home. Bamboo snakes are lighter in color than the green snakes and their heads are larger, relative to their bodies. Green snakes are quite the lookers, though, with their bright lime green coloring.
I haven’t seen any gui ke hua, cobra or umbrella snakes yet. I did once see the tail end of what must have been one massive black constrictor like snake while on a hike in Yinge. Most of its body was already off the trail and I could hear twigs snapping as the snake moved along in the bush. Must have been huge.
My wife used to work for TTC, Taiwan tea corporation, and her job consisted of going out to collect rent and other money from farmers that lease company land and join the guys who measure up the land for rental … maybe some 10-15 years ago she ran across a huge cobra, she calls it a king snake or something, she said it was as a man’s arm thick, it just jumped up from behind her, was she lucky not to’ve been bitten?
Yes. She was very lucky to not been bitten.
A Chinese green snake. Absolutely beautiful animals.
I need the help of you experts again to ID this beauty I caught in my backyard this morning. I was in my skivvies when the wife found it, and it took a half-hearted strike at my foot, hitting the top of my flipflop rather than my bare foot, thank god – don’t get too close to an unidentified snake when you’re still half-asleep!
I put on some boots and caught him for the photo-op before letting him loose in the graveyard behind my house, which is where I suppose he came from in the first place.
Anyway, I’ve never seen such a bright orange snake here. Shape of its head and the thin neck suggests a venomous snake, but the coloration… I have no idea what it could be, other than extremely lucky – it shared my yard with three cats and a dog last night. I can see a couple of what look like injuries on it, but they look old to me, not sustained last night, at least.
It’s a Taiwan Tree Snake (Boiga kraepelini).
Thanks, John. So it’s the exact same snake that MJB pictured above? Amazing difference in the coloration!
Yes, the same snake.
Absolutely, great differences in coloration and how much the pattern shows through, which makes IDing from people’s verbal descriptions hard work.
Very cool color variation from the one I caught last summer…Beautiful.
They’re pretty quick aren’t they?
Oh, one other thing…These guys can strike up their bodies (like if you are holding their tail for example) so be careful.
Best thing is he looks calm…Which means you handled him well.
I haven’t seen any snakes at all this year… :s
Which is exactly what he did when I first picked him up on the coathanger. I was going to pick him up by the tail so Jojo could get a better shot, but when I saw him do that I thought “Naaaaaaah!”
MJB [quote]They’re pretty quick aren’t they? [/quote]
Not after they’ve been in the fridge for 15 minutes!!
Out for a morning piss, eh?
Out for a morning piss, eh?[/quote]
Hey, I have a yard. Might as well use it!
Amazing photos, Sandman!
Since we’re on the subject of snakes, here are a few pics. The photo quality sucks - took them on an Apple QuickTake several years ago. I’m guessing the first is a bamboo viper. Saw these a fair bit, and this particular one fell out of a tree while I was cutting the grass:
After dark, I used to see banded kraits all the time, but the snake I saw most often by far was this kind:
I’ve heard conflicting opinions on what it is. If you can tell from my crappy photo, any takers? Habu? Boiga kraepelini? I’ve seen them range in color from very light to very dark and vivid - either that or I’m just seeing different snakes with my untrained eye.