Friday, October 29, 2010

Green Vine Snake

Parental Advisory: the following blog entry contains graphic images of animal violence!

This beautiful snake is a Green Vine Snake (Oxybelis fulgidus), and is common in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.

I found it today in one of the nets as it was trying to eat a hummingbird!

When I found it, the hummingbird was already dead. I do net runs every half hour, but I was too late for the juvenile Rufous-tailed Hummingbird that the snake is trying to eat here.

Hummingbirds are often less entangled in the nets than other birds, and the snake certainly had a chance of picking it out of the net, just as the hummingbird had a chance of flying out.

But the poor little hummingbird was stuck in the net and couldn't get out; for the same reason, the snake couldn't eat it.

These snakes can get over 2 m long. This individual was about a meter and a half.

Man of the hour Walt Sakai got the snake out of the net. I had no idea if this thing was going to be poisonous, so I exercised the necessary caution. Next time I find one in the nets, I'll remove it myself.

I do net runs every half hour here, which is more frequent than at many other banding stations, mainly to prevent birds from overheating should they get caught in a sunny spot. Apparently, other dangers are lurking too. This is the first bird that died during my time here. I hope it will be the last also.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Oh, what a terrible thing to find when checking the nets! Here we have deer that will eat the birds. At our summer banding station we had one net that we didn't put up until later in the morning because of the deer.