Mozambique Twig Snake, Arusha National Park, Tanzania, Africa

Adrian Paul

Coffs Harbour, Australia

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501 views as at 29 September 2011

The Mozambique Twig Snake (Thelotornis mossambicanus) is a slender snake (up to about 140 cm) with long tail. The body is brown or grey with marbled and speckled with darker blotches. The head is slender and distinct from the neck, the top is uniform green and, typical of T. ossambicanus, the temporal region is always speckled with black. Pupil horizontal “key” shaped, loreal shield present, a pair of enlarged grooved poison fangs behind the eye in the upper jaw.

Thelotornis mossambicanus ranges from southern Somalia south to central Mozambique, west to the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe

It is considered an arboreal species but catches a lot of its prey on the ground. It is rarely seen in the field due to its cryptic colours and habit of remaining mmobile for a long time. If disturbed can move away swiftly or inflate the neck. The diet consists of small snakes and lizards (especially chameleons and arboreal eckos) but sometimes also few birds, frogs and toads are taken (Broadley, pers. comm.). The bite from these snakes is dangerous as no serum is available and a few fatalities have been recorded. It must be stressed, however, that bites are very rare and that this back fanged snake needs to hold on to its victim for some time to inject poison. ( From EDOARDO RAZZETTI & CHARLES ANDEKIA MSUYA – FIELD GUIDE TO THE AMPHIBIANS

Taken in Arusha National Park, Tanzania

Camera: Nikon D80; Lens – Tamron 28-300 VC zoom

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