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,

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