Leopard snake:Elaphe situla

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Conchiolin
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Leopard snake:Elaphe situla

Post by Conchiolin » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:06 pm

Today i found this beauty in front of my door. I think it was lying in the sun very normal for a snake since its poikilothermic (cold-blooded) and so needs to heat up to get active. This is a young specimen and the Leopard snake can grow up to 1m don't know if it's posionous preys on small creatures eg: mice etc.... It is scarce.

As i got nearer with my digital it tried to escape but when i cornered it, it started to "attack" and by attack i mean it tried to bite me by moving it's head forward sort of to jab me with its head.

After some time i let it slither peacufully behind a pot.

At first i thought it was an algerian whip snake but then i thought it was a cat snake but a cat snake has slit like eyes so it's Leopard snake known as the "Lifgha" in Maltese.

Some pics:
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Nice patterns, nice snake.
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HPIM1854.JPG
Notice the red eyes and they are not slit-like. (unlike those of a cat-snake)
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RB
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Post by RB » Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:00 pm

Yes that's it. I never saw a large one however. Not poisonous, unlike the cat snake Telescopus fallax, that is. The latter is generally more elusive as it is active at night, but occasionally it ends up in a house or yard and is encountered.

The Algerian, I once caught one crossing the road (at night, also) it was the one and only time I ever saw one and it was probably around the 1m mark.

I can't resist, each time I see a snake I grab it... just to take a look.

My instinct nearly cost me when i met a viper on Etna... thankfully I had second thoughts.

Pic of it attached. Also of a lizard, this was approx 60cm long.

RB
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Conchiolin
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Post by Conchiolin » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:43 am

Yes, the algerian and cat are active at night unlike the Elaphe situla. The cat snake has quite weak poison and is only lethal to mice etc...

I have to tell you this RB i really admire your spirit grabbing every snake you see, no way i will ever do that. :lol:

You know in some cases snakes are considered as huge pests here in malta especially for poultry farms and farmers very often kill them. Especially is-'Serp l-Iswed', Coluber Viridflavus I learnt that by experience it's a hell of predator and grows up to 1.5m.

Even lizards such as the "Wizgha" the 2 species have bad reputation amongst bird trappers they are notorious for eating the bird's eggs.

We've mentioned all the species of snake existing in malta in this topic haven't we?

and btw NICE photos especially the lizard nice colour and the viper ,well i can't say it has a nice colour but it does make me pee in my pants. :shock: :)
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Post by RB » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:36 am

The biggest Coluber I ever found was unfortunately DOA.

It was over 5ft, and over 2 inches diam in it's thickest spot.

I would think twice about grabbing that ;-)

The teeth are extremely sharp and while a bite is not particularly painful, it is often bloody!

Did not know the Algerian was nocturnal, thanks for the info. FYI this was caught crossing the road from St Lucija towards the Addolorata area "countryside", this pop is truly pocketed in by roads and building, etc. I gave it a helping push over the wall.

RB

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Conchiolin
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Post by Conchiolin » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:27 pm

OOOOOOOPPPPPSSSSSSS in fact it's not nocturnal it hunts by day sorry only the cat is nocturnal.

In fact the slit like eyes of the cat snake is an adaptation it really helps him during hunting at night. The slit like opening of the pupil enables the nocturnal animal to close the pupil effectively so reducing the amount of light entering the retina during the day but during the night the slit like shape is lost to let in as much light as possible for a better vision. This is found in many nocturnal animals example cat. This does not mean that every nocturnal creature has slit like eyes take the owl for example.

Other snakes don't need such eyes.

Sorry again for the mistake.
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Prosit!

Post by MWP admin » Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:56 pm

Impressive pics and discussion guys! Chonc - thrilling adventure with these photos! I may ask you permission to include your photo in the funghi&fauna gallery of the site.

I am a bit phobic of snakes. I always try to capture these but they are too fast to hide in the bushes in the wild.

I have a photo of a dead one, though it does not show that on the photo shhh! :oops:

Thanks for posting
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Conchiolin
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Post by Conchiolin » Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:39 am

Go ahead if you see that my photos are good and you need any of my photos i would be pleased to hand them to you. :)

The specimen of the leopard snake i still a bit young though. Imma it's your call boss.
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