Wednesday, July 19, 2017

oxybelis fulgidus, aka slenderman

You may have never heard of the vine snake, even though the species (there are several) are found everywhere in the tropical world, from Texas to the ghats of western India. Some are brownish, but most are bright green with racing stripes. All of them are about 3/4 of an inch thick and between 1-1/2 and 2 meters long.

Additionally, they all have long, pointy snouts, and their huge mouths are as long as their heads. Vine snakes are technically vipers, and have two long fangs at the backs of their mouths, with which they make holes in their prey to introduce their toxic saliva into the bloodstreams of the mice, frogs, and little birds they hunt.

Apparently, these long, skinny guys never leave the tree when hunting. They hang around by their long and delicate tails, and watch the ground, looking for a mouse (or a mouse's nest), a frog, or whatever. They try to get close enough to carefully smell the intended prey, and if it passes the sniff test, drop down far enough to grab it by the head, and immediately raise it a foot or more into the tree. They waste no time giving the fatal bite and then immediately once it's immobilized, eating the victim.  Then they head straight for the top of the tree and a month or so of napping and digesting,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

branwell & me

I can’t remember if I ever told U the story of Branwell and me.

This was in Utah in 2014. There were some  brontosaurus pups, and one of em followed me home a couple of times, but I wasn’t allowed to keep him. I named him Branwell after
the Bronte's disreputable younger brother.

He soon was able to recognize our car.   
"Uh oh! Branwell Bronte sawr us."

Every other day or so I’d have to walk him back up to ye store, where he and his family lived on the produce that otherwise  would  have been dumpstered.

Kit took this pic on Dec 13, 2014, as we were leaving town.  I just had to stop & say g'bye to the little guy, who was about 12 weeks at the time.  He’s fully grown by now, and  having a better life than his namesake did, I'm sure.