“Why is that vine moving? Must be the wind. Wait… Why is that vine biting me?!”
My guess; it’s not a vine.
There are actually several types of vine snakes, all owning up to their name, but my favourite definitely being the Madagascan Vine Snake, which I will be starting with.
The Madascan Vine Snake, also known as the Malagasy Leaf-nosed Snake, owns up to its name, hiding in plain site, one would often not notice it hanging from the branches.
This specific species of vine snakes exhibit an interesting case of sexual dimorphism, which is when the same species display different characteristics other than their sexual organs, theirs being their odd and unique about protrusions.
They will often hang straight down from branches and wait for their prey, namely arboreal (climbing) and terrestrial lizards. Though their venom can cause severe pain in people, it is luckily not deadly.
Let’s move on to the Vine Snake… hmm, perhaps I should be more specific. The snakes in this genus is usually also known as Whip Snakes.
This little fellow is found throughout parts of Asia, and is a rear-fanged serpent, but its venom being completely harmless to humans, however, it causes paralysis in its prey.
They are diurnal (daytime dwelling) and arboreal creatures which feed on lizards, rodents, frogs and quite often, fish, striking down from the branches into the water.
Most commonly known in this genus is the Common Vine Snake, also known as the judgemental shoelace. Watch this video to understand.
They have quite a unique feature when it comes to eyes – a keyhole shaped pupil – a trait not so common, but is shared with our next vine snake.
Found in parts of Africa, this rear-fanged colubrid has a nasty hemotoxic venom, affecting bloodclotting and causing uncontrolled bleeding. Though bites do seldom occur, and the venom acts very slowly, bites by these guys can be fatal, as there is no antigenic available for treatment.
When threatened, they will inflate their throat to display bold black markings hidden between the scales that act as a warning to any who come close. They will often stiffen their bodies and away slightly, like a twig would do in a breeze, as extra camoflauge.
A fascinating collecting of imitators to behold! Nature never ceases to amaze me!