Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Week of Snake Skin

Another discarded snake skin found this morning in Tanjung Rhu Mangroves of Langkawi. This must be my week of discarded snake skins.

Our boat was closing into the foliage of the mangroves and our skipper slowed down and started to reverse. Then suddenly, one of my guests shouted, "A snake!". My eyes were looking everywhere on the lowest branches of the trees. Feeling a bit embarrassed to ask, my mind was asking "Where? Where?". I looked at my skipper for a clue and then he said in Malay, "Kulit ular" (snake skin). I saw the discarded skin dangling on the leaves. However, my guests were still focusing on a different spot. And then shortly, I saw that snake hanging on the limbs.  Even my skipper who has good eyes didn't even spot it first... hahahhaha...

Everyone took their turn to snap pictures of the snake with the new skin. Because of that and all the excitement on the boat, I literally forgot to take a picture of the discarded skin. Bah!! That snake had a very beautiful shining skin and it looked "brand new" indeed. Unfortunately the discarded skin was incomplete. The head has gone.  

Someone asked me the species of that snake. "It is a Mangrove Pit viper!" Upon hearing that word "viper", the boat tilted to one side because most of them moved across away from that snake. 

The picture above was taken in November 2009. Mangrove Pit Vipers (Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus) are commonly found in mangroves of Langkawi and spotting one can be a challenge. They can be spotted hanging on the limbs of the trees between a meter to 3 meters above the water.  

One of my encounter with a mangrove pit viper was when I was pointing my finger to the mudflat while talking and looking at my group. As I looked down to where I was pointing, a juvenile pit viper was less than a meter away and ready to strike. Phew!

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